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Are companies using unpaid internships to get free work out of students?

April 3, 2010

Of course they are, and in some cases (such as the girl who spent the summer wiping down door handles) it is a sleazy practice, but since the student enters into the arrangement willingly I don’t see where the government has any business stepping in. The exception would be if the school and the businesses are colluding in order to supply free labor with little to no educational value to the student, and I would bet that is not the case for a most of these internships.

I have a little experience with interns at my last job. We put them to work doing actual work involved in the product development process. Depending what their major was in they were instructed in how our process worked and set to it. CS majors programmed some, maybe did some source control, possibly worked in the test lab, helped write requirements. EE majors laid out circuits, did functional testing, etc. I sent one to a compliance lab to oversee testing, others I had helping me maintain RoHS files or updating Declarations of Conformity, stuff like that. All stuff that served both the companies and the students interests. Most of them had to report back to an internship coordinator every week and I never heard a complaint about the work I was having them do. I know we had to fill out evaluations explaining what we had them doing and why. I honestly don’t know if they were paid or not, but I do know that almost all of the people who interned for us were offered jobs, (I can only think of one who wasn’t). Some got offers immediately, others were made offers after graduation. I don’t honestly see how that hurts the student. In fact they gained experience in areas that most programs only touch on peripherally which helps them in the long run.

Here is where I would have the problem, and I have heard of it happening, but have no experience with it. A job is just left open and interns are rotated through it so the company can avoid the cost of salary and benefits. In that case in my opinion the company is stealing from the student because obviously the job isn’t important enough to fill, so how is the student supposed to get a good educational value from it?

-FMJRA Saturday-

It was a pretty busy week for links –

XBradTC linked regarding the whole panic over Obama’s private Public Health Service army of ninjas who have been sent from the future to disarm and enslave America.

A couple of aggregator blogs picked up on some health care comments. (Here) (Here)

The Classic Liberal linked about the President’s sudden announcement that he was opening some coastal areas to oil exploration / drilling

Dustbury linked my comments regarding Sarah Palin’s call to elect more veterans. I stand by my contention that it isn’t enough just to be a veteran. You need the right kind of veterans.

The Daley Gator linked Anna Paquin’s announcement of bisexuality.

Silent Running links my comments about Ron Paul.

Thanks everyone. If you linked me and I didn’t acknowledge it let me know and I will get it fixed right away.


New CBS poll show support for Obama care still falling – That’s because the media is finally getting around to reporting on things like the fact that premiums will continue to go up. Cost’s aren’t really going to decrease etc. If they had been honest about this bill from the beginning support would be much lower than it is now.

From the stupid files

Michael Sulick, head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, told a student audience last week that the spy agency has seen no fall-off in intelligence since waterboarding was banned by the Obama administration.

Of course not. His own agency says they only used waterboarding on three people, and if I remember correctly it hasn’t been used at all since 2003. So it would be kind of hard to see a drop off from banning a practice that wasn’t in use. The real question is how much intelligence we will garner from the next Khalid Sheikh Mohammed we capture. Will we see a decrease then.


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