Some college graduates can expect a high annual salary the moment they graduate, while others are looking at food stamps, by choice. These college students are not taking a vow of poverty, but rather one of internship. According to CSMonitor.com’s recent article on summer 2007 internships, more and more college students in competitive fields are willingly foregoing lucrative jobs in order to endure their full-time internships, which they believe will in the end land them the job and annual salary they seek.
While some summer 2007 internships will pay wages, particularly in engineering or computer programming (more than $25 per hour), many internships are unpaid. Industries such as publishing, TV and politics are well known for no pay or low-paying internships. Because there are so many people that want to work in these fields, these industries will have no problem finding students to work for free in summer 2007 internships.
If you took one of these summer 2007 internships, would your salary get you through? Find out with our salary calculator.
Sports and Entertainment Internships in LA
Sports and entertainment internships in LA abound. There are internships at movie studios, talent agencies, sports management companies, production companies, TV stations and cable networks (for those trying to get into sports and news). Interns do everything from reading scripts, to answering phones, logging sports/news footage, filing, faxing and typing correspondence. Are these types of internships even legal?
According to CSMonitor.com, the United States Fair Labor Standards Act says that businesses can use unpaid interns if “the on-the-job training is for the benefit of the interns and companies receive no ‘immediate advantage.’ This means companies should not profit from an intern’s work and in some cases training interns may even impede the companies’ day-to-day operations.”
Paid Student Internships, Abroad
Even if they are doing work beyond the United States Fair Labor Standards Act, most unpaid interns in the U.S. are not going to rock the boat for fear of alienating prospective employers. According to sbindependent.org, interns have actually been fired for not performing menial work unrelated to the internship.
In Germany, unpaid interns have taken a stand. They participated in large demonstrations and created an online petition advocating calling an end to unpaid internships. According to unfairinternships.wordpress.com, the result was “Fair Company,” a group of organizations in Germany that are committed to paid student internships. However, back in the U.S., Anya Kamenetz, author of "Generation Debt," claims that if all U. S. businesses paid minimum wage to all interns, it could cost as much as $124 million annually.
Urban Arts Internships
Gina Neff, an assistant professor at the University of Washington, analyzes the media and communications industry. She finds unpaid internships troubling: “I think there’s a tendency to say, ‘OK, kiddos, just suck it up!’ There is this sense that there needs to be great economic sacrifice to get to these kinds of jobs. Sadly, what it means is that you’re locking out people who can’t afford to work for free."
Indeed if you don’t have wealthy parents to carry you through an unpaid internship, then you may be shut out. To add diversity, some colleges and organizations offer Urban Arts Internships (as mentioned at Trinitylamama) and internships with financial stipends. Kino Ruth, director of the Career Center at Hamilton College in New York State, told CSMonitor.com, "The concept of finding funding to allow students to take unpaid internships is something that sort of caught fire nationally.” Hamilton College offers 30 internship stipends and hopes to increase that number.
On the other side of the diploma, many students (and parents) will be paying for summer 2007 internships (according to SPTimes.com). They will shell out hundreds (and thousands) of dollars to companies to find internships. However, colleges say that students shouldn’t pay a service to find an internship, because most universities have the resources to search for free. "A student doesn’t have to do that, in my opinion. It just tells me that they’re not going and using their resources," says Phil Gardner, director of Michigan State’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute.
How much could you afford to pay for an internship? Find out with our salary survey.
Dr. Al Lee