Monday, May 31, 2010

New experience: Interns pay to work: For-profits finding flood of candidates in poor job market

The Boston Globe reports:
Unpaid internships have long been offered by nonprofits, but for-profit businesses are increasingly taking advantage of the number of students who, in a tight job market, are willing to forgo a paycheck for practical experience.

And there’s a new twist on the paid internship — where the intern actually pays for the job via online auctions on websites such as The Huffington Post recently auctioned off an internship, for charity, for $9,000. A six-week internship — half of it with Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, and half with hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons — went for $85,000, to benefit Simmons’s charity, Rush Philanthropic.

The proliferation of unpaid internships at corporations, law firms, media outlets, and other businesses is stirring debate over whether the firms are trying to skirt federal labor laws, and some states are investigating whether employers are breaking minimum wage laws. Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office said Massachusetts has not had any complaints or investigations.
The market for labor.