Newsday Column: Unpaid Internships & Social Mobility

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Anne Michaud of Newsday, explored some of the underpinnings of unpaid American Dreaminternships and social mobility in her column on August 23, 2013, entitled “Internships and the American Dream” .

“Opportunities like these should be open to people up and down the socioeconomic ladder, achieved mainly by smarts and diligence. And that’s the problem with unpaid internships. They reinforce the declining social mobility in America.”

One of the principal arguments against unpaid internships is the requirement that you beĀ  well-suited enough to afford living on no wages for several weeks or months while you pursue those internships. If you can afford to borrow from your family or live at home, that’s fantastic. But many Americans cannot afford to work for free, pay rent and afford food. That denies a large portion of the population the ability to gain experience and move up the corporate ladder — because they cannot afford to take unpaid internships. Ms. Michaud flushes out part of that argument in her piece.

Ms. Michaud concludes: “Interns, by definition, are in a fragile position — trying to get a foothold in an occupation, aiming to please. It’s a shame to exploit that eagerness by paying them nothing.”




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