Don't 'Liberate' Interns from Valuable Career Experience

The decision to partake in an unpaid internship should be up to the individual.

Our friends over at Reason TV have a smart new video this week, perfect for summer intern season here in Washington, D.C. 

Host Andrew Heaton takes on critics of internships who say that young adults who work for low or no pay in order to gain valuable job experience and contacts are somehow being taken advantage of. But in a diverse labor market in which college students can choose between many different combinations of work, recreation, and study over the course of a summer, shouldn't it be up to the striving youngsters among us to decide if the hours worked at an unpaid internship are worth the non-monetary rewards?Any of these options might be advantageous.

More than ever, experts on employment and career success are advising students to be more practical-minded about building professional careers. German-style vocational training is gaining ground over the everyone-needs-a-liberal-arts-degree school of thought. And educational entrepreneurs like Isaac Morehouse at Praxis are pushing us even farther from that middle-class expectation by simply saying don’t go to college at all. Any of these options might be advantageous for a bright young person depending on their temperament and long-term goals, which is why it's foolish and counterproductive to do things like banning the no pay/all experience internship, whether it's in, say, the UK or Philadelphia.

Reprinted from Competitive Enterprise Institute

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