Source: Hiffington Post
Posted: 10/21/2013 9:29 am
There’s been a swarm of media attention surrounding internships, especially compensation, in the past few months. Recent lawsuits surrounding internships at Fox Searchlight and Sony and Columbia Records prove that hiring an intern isn’t something to take lightly.
So, what does the term “intern” mean to you and your company? If the first thing that comes to mind is cheap or free labor, then it’s time to send your definition back to the drawing board. In fact, merely labeling a worker as an intern doesn’t mean you can dole out menial activities without pay.
The definition of “intern” is broken, and it needs to be fixed before we can successfully move internship programs into the future:
The Real Definition of Intern
What exactly is an intern? Well, they’re not an administrative superstar or an expert coffee fetcher. A quick online search states that an intern is a student or recent graduate undergoing supervised practical training. Is your internship program providing supervised practical training within your industry?
This educational definition actually falls in line with the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division guidelines. An internship should be a hands-on, educational experience in which a student or recent graduate gains real-world immersion into a chosen industry under the direct supervision of not just an employer, but an effective internship manager. If your internship program doesn’t fit these definitions and guidelines, it may be time to rethink the role of interns in your company.
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