Steve Duin had an interesting column in the March 30, 2010, Oregonian, (dated 3/29/10 on the website) about student internships and he makes a point few know, i.e. there are laws about such things. And one of the Commenters makes another important point, about the role of the educational institution that set up the internship, though sometimes there is no “middle-man” and the intern needs to do his or her own research.
“The insidious rise in unpaid internships can run afoul of federal guidelines,” by Steve Duin, The Oregonian, March 29, 2010
Excerpt: ‘A good friend of my daughter’s asked for my advice last week about an internship ….
The six-month internship required that this college grad spend 20 hours a week building the online issue of the monthly magazine, writing stories, editing video, cropping photographs, crafting headlines and formatting the events calendar….
Those internships abound when the economy is flat-lining because companies take advantage of young workers who decide an additional entry on the resume is better than another summer with the Xbox.
But the unpaid labor is also problematic when states follow the federal guidelines, as Oregon and Washington do, in determining whether the intern must be compensated….
Roberts and Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries could point me to only three successful wage claims for bogus internships, against Centron Solar, Design for Home and Cart De Frisco International Inc., a food-cart operation.
If you’re interning without pay in an uglier one, call Christine Hammond at BOLI’s Wage and Hour Division at 971-673-0837, or call Washington L&I toll-free at 866-219-7321. Or if all else fails, call me.’ (Link to full Duin column.)
For more about student interships, see Students dot Gov (under Internships) and check with your school’s career counseling office. If you’re not a student and want to research internships, check online but also check with local job placement services for advice. For example, see the list at the Multnomah County public library.