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posted: 3/10/2014 4:01 AM

Unpaid internships abuse young people

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There needs to be some public discussion and changes made regarding the abuse of internships these days. While we point fingers at unfair labor practices in other countries and poor minimum wage in our own, a young adult with eight years of education behind him or her is regularly being required to serve "internships."

I've seen school districts, newspapers, city establishments, businesses and universities increasingly make decisions to hire interns and churn them as they expire rather than paying at least a minimum wage for the job. They used to call that bondage.

After writing to all three Illnios congressmen, the only one to respond said he would "watch" for legislation and consider it. When I responded that was his job to introduce it, there was no response. Maybe because they abuse them too? (Remember Monica?)

Both of my daughters had to do internships with their degrees. The older one had no benefit from her experience at all -- they just replaced her with another intern and gave no help getting a related position. She will be paying for this "privilege" for years.

The younger one has paid application fees to seven internships, is paying $500 to fly to the internship "interview" (really?) and, if she gets it, will pay several thousand dollars for the "privilege" of working for free while putting her life on hold after eight years of classes and labs. In the meantime, there's nothing coming in to help her pay her bills, or even her grocery bill and utilities, and there's a skinny carrot on a long rope in front of her with a remote promise that it will lead to a job that can pay for a bigger bag of carrots.

It is time for some change to this abusive practice.

Carol Clark

Rolling Meadows

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