Unpaid Internships: Valuable Experience or Exploitation?

Like most of us in PILF, you have probably had an unpaid summer internship–in fact, like most students, you have probably had more than one.  And as students pursuing careers in public interest, most of us have accepted our fate and willingly apply for these (often highly competitive) unpaid positions.  Yet some have questioned whether it is fair for employers to hire students for free. In fact, some feel that most internships violate federal law and flout Labor Department rules.  The New York Times had a lively discussion of the issue this week, and it left us wondering, DO unpaid internships exploit college students? Should it matter whether the employer is a non-profit versus a for-profit entity? What about a government organization?  Should the government step in and do something? Read the discussion and share your thoughts.

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One thought on “Unpaid Internships: Valuable Experience or Exploitation?

  1. From a personal standpoint, unpaid internships seem like the lesser of two evils: if companies have to choose between not hiring interns at all, or hiring unpaid interns, I’d obviously prefer to have unpaid opportunities. But the NYT article pointed out a lot of broader effects I hadn’t considered that make me think maybe the government should step in.

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