Uncategorized | 1:08 pm | April 4, 2011 | By Sharon Yin

Times op-ed pooh-poohs unpaid internships

Getting ready for summer?Author Ross Perlin condemned unpaid internships and colleges that promote them in the New York Times this weekend.

“Colleges have turned internships into a prerequisite for the professional world but have neither ensured equal access to these opportunities, nor insisted on fair wages for honest work,” Perlin wrote.

Some unpaid internships require students to receive credit from their university, and students who have graduated sometimes even pay their alma maters in order to receive credit allowing for their employment.

The op-ed harshly calls colleges the “cheerleaders and enablers of the unpaid internship boom.”

According to the article:

some colleges are asking the government, in essence, to look the other way. In a letter last year, 13 university presidents told the Labor Department, “While we share your concerns about the potential for exploitation, our institutions take great pains to ensure students are placed in secure and productive environments that further their education.”

And instead of preventing the exploitation of their students, colleges have made academic credit a commodity. The author points to what he calls a “cooperative education,” in which students alternate between classroom time and paid work experience, as the answer that “represents a humane and pragmatic model.”

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