​Unpaid Internships - Good Or Bad?

 John D’Amico  

So it is summertime and a lot of college students are likely taking part in internships to help them get a job after college. Many of these internships are likely unpaid. And many would argue that this is unfair. They would say it is wrong to have people work for you without paying them any salary. So are they right or wrong? Let’s take a look.

First, let’s look at some statistics. According to the Washington Post, “the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 55 percent of the class of 2012 had an internship or co-op during their time in college. Almost half of those — 47 percent — were unpaid. A third of internships at for-profit companies were unpaid.”
Are They Right or Wrong?
Now, the first point worth noting here is that doing an unpaid internship is technically a choice that young people make. It’s not really something that you have to do. Although, some may argue in response to this that it’s not truly a choice considering that it’s pretty much needed to get a good job after college. And that’s not even getting into the fact that some colleges will require students to take one. Also, it’s not like there’s a ton of paid internships out there. 
I would say that this is a fair point to make. I can definitely understand the idea that it’s unfair to not pay someone who does work for you. You do work, you get paid for it. That’s how the world is supposed to work.
On the other hand, I can understand to a certain extent why unpaid internships exist. Firstly, some companies may have some work that needs to be done and just may not be able to afford to pay people to do it.
Additionally, I think unpaid internships can be a good opportunity for young adults to get some working experience and learn some things considering that if there was no such thing as unpaid internships, there may not be any kind of work that they’re actually qualified to do.
Illegal Unpaid Internships
Another fact worth noting about unpaid internships is that the U.S. government actually has certain regulations in place for unpaid internships to be legal. Basically, among some other requirements, the intern has to get some benefits from the internship like teaching and training, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
And the thing is a lot of unpaid internships out there actually don’t live up to these requirements. So there are numerous unpaid internships out there that are illegal. And of course, this is wrong. I would say that more should be done to investigate internships out there and to regulate them so that this isn’t happening nearly as often.
But at the end of the day, I don’t necessarily see unpaid internships in general as a bad thing. I think that they can have a certain value as a way for students to get started in the working world. And as long as they’re following all the legal requirements, I don’t really have a problem with them.



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