Ban on Internships a Bad Idea

Many professionals start their career as interns, learning the business while working for little or no money, and possibly with our without college credit for the experience.  At Feratech, we always maintained an active internship program, taking advantage of our Boston location to always have young students with fresh insights working for our company.  The interns learned the business, developed valuable skills, and provided useful man power to our growing business.

The administrations has decided to crack down on this practice, which will drastically affect the career prospects of current college students.  By eliminating this practice, firms will dramatically decrease the numbers of positions that they offer, which will result in more college graduates leaving school with a pile of student loans and no work experience.  The administration feels that internships are volunteers, and only the government and non-profits can have volunteers.  The affect of this on the media is the subject of this rant by John Stossel, which illustrates part of the problem.

Given the high unemployment rate, teenagers and students are struggling to find summer employment, because they are competing with out of work people that can work year round without restrictions.  This leaves internships as one of the prime sources for job experience for students, a position being targeted by the administration.  We already know that graduating in a recession hurts your income for ten years compared to graduating in good times.  A 22 college graduate without an internship on their resume is not only competing against those that were able to get a paying internship, but against the 23 year old that graduated the previous year, has the internship, and a year of experience.

My resume coming out of college was filled with internships from high school and college, albeit paid because computer internships were normally paid in the dot-com era, without those experiences, I would have had tremendous difficulty my first years out of school, a decision being laid upon today’s college students.  Given that the administration received two-thirds the votes of the 18-30 crowd, I do not understand why they are taking a position that will have a huge negative affect on those young professionals starting their careers.