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June 01, 2011


Coupled with states (like Maine) trying to pass laws making teen labor cheaper and easier to obtain is not helping the children either.


I appreciate the call for interns to be given time during the school day and year to intern, and for internships to be required, but I don't think that gets at the core issue of accessibility.

I went to college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I wanted to be a writer. Coming from a low-income background and paying my own way through school, there was no possible way I could work for free over the summers, particularly with cost-of-living expenses, at the places I most wanted to work. While internship-for-credit is nice, especially if it's available during the school year, what competitive advantage, really, would that have given me? "The best internships" in my field are still concentrated in a few select US cities. How would my internship at, say, The Ann Arbor News or 826 Michigan -- wonderful though those places may be -- given me a competitive edge with another budding writer who goes to school in New York and can intern at leading magazines and publishers?

In this scenario, I don't see how the end result is much different than it is now. (Though more substantive work experience, acknowledged by colleges, can only be a good thing.) Unless I learn about other possibilities, I have to err with Perlin on this one. Of course paid internships will translate into fewer internships ... but it seems to me that I higher proportion of the "best ones" will be accessible to students like I was, and like so many others.

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