In the Loop: Internship opportunities give students real-world experience despite pay

We are blessed to receive a top-notch education as Whitworth students. Classes teach us many invaluable skills that will put us on the path toward success after graduation. However, classwork alone is not sufficient. To this end, gaining real world experience in a field of student interest is an invaluable asset. Unfortunately, if recent rulings from the federal court system are extended to other parts of the country, chances of finding an internship could diminish. A federal judge from Manhattan found that Fox Searchlight Studios violated the state’s minimum wage laws by not paying the interns.

Ideally, all companies would pay their interns. After all, students are doing actual work in the field, work that they would be compensated for as a regular employee.  A student cannot pay rent with “real-world experience.” That often means a student has to take a job on the side or live off of savings. The harsh reality is many companies simply cannot afford to pay interns.

As medical technology improves, the rate of retirement continues to drop. People are healthier and able to work later and later in life. Simply put, there are more people entering the workforce than leaving it, making it more difficult for recent grads to get jobs. This makes internships more important.

The unpaid internship is mutually beneficial. The student benefits from the internship by gaining valuable work experience, developing marketable skills, discerning a future career path and networking with professionals. The company benefits from the work and skills the student brings to the workplace, and they do not have to spend money to create jobs where there is no need.

Students need as many opportunities as possible for internships, opportunities that may not be around if employers have to pay for them. If the courts impose wage requirements, a student’s chances of finding a job after graduation could drastically decrease. In turn, this will perpetuate the “boomerang culture” of our generation, in which students live with their parents after graduation.

This editorial board encourages students to value internship opportunities and pursue the opportunity to intern. Internships supplement learning in the classroom and provide venues to develop skills that the classroom cannot offer a student.

 

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors. 

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