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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Are unpaid interns being exploited?

After the Hearst Corporation was sued for violating federal and state wage and hour laws against a former intern, many students are doubting the value of the experience gained. With tuition rising and USA Today stating that the price of college text books have increased over 82 percent in the past decade, students are weary of working without making any money.

But as the Roman playwright Platus once said “You must spend money to make money.”

The experience is sustaining and meaningful, and students gain important assets as well as important contacts that are hard to obtain anywhere else. According to a recent survey American Public Media’s “Marketplace” and the Chronicle of High Education recently took, employers cited experience gained from internships was one of the top reasons for hiring any college student that’s recently graduated. The internship proved to be more important than the students major, the university the student graduated from, and their grade point average. It concluded that 79 percent of employers stated that unpaid internships have a positive impact when evaluating graduates for hire.

Internships were made to not only help students gain successful resumes and experience, but to also allow the student to gain a feel for the work the student may eventually go into. Without that opportunity, many students will march into a blind field that they might not even end up enjoying.

But many students without a source of higher income are left in the dark.

“The thousands of people shut out of journalism, politics, the arts and other fields because they can’t afford to take unpaid internships on their climb to a career,” said Christie Thompson of ProPublica.

Unpaid internships allow students the opportunity for students to develop voices in their field and learn how to create authentic high quality of work, they are beneficial, not destructive. Many students believe that just because they have obtained a degree they will easily land a job right after college, but sadly that is not always the case.

If you were the employer and you had two equally qualified students who both interviewed well, both had the same major, both had a good GPA, but one student had some related experience, which one would you hire and why?” said Juliette McDonald, PH.D., and Florida State University Career Center’s program director. “Every student could tell me why they would hire the one with internship experience. It just makes good sense.”

Because the U.S. is developing at such a fast pace, it’s important for students to remember when applying to a job that there are hundreds of other graduates that may be applying for that same position, and that one unpaid internship can tip the scale. Unpaid internships are a very important stepping stone for so many young people to finally understand the working world and helps ensure their success in their field.

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