Love for Sale? Well, Maybe Internships

(from http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/04/28/love-for-sale-well-maybe-internships/)

Many people are actually paying money for the privilege of working for free. There are enough people looking for summer-internships, paid or unpaid, that now there are companies that specialize in finding an internship for a fee.

“… an internship is a way to learn about the job market, acquire basic skills, learn office protocol and etiquette, and make connections that can help you take your next steps.

“… internship is increasingly becoming a necessary part of the educational process.  School no longer prepares kids to either get or keep jobs, and internships are springing up to fill the gap. This is partly an indictment of our educational system and partly a statement about how the job market is changing.

“First, there’s the educational problem. The huge amounts of time that American adolescents and young adults spend in class don’t actually prepare them in any meaningful way for the job world. Our educational system is horrendously inefficient and glacially slow. In most of our schools, including the “good” ones, kids learn at what by historic standards is a snail’s pace and waste untold days and weeks on trivial assignments amid the tyranny of low expectations.

“… American education today tends to demand little from most students by world or historical standards and to be poorly focused — lots of fluff courses, little orchestration of learning experiences, many scatter shot learning experiences and very few thoughtful efforts to construct a meaningful introduction to the complicated world in which we live.

“… kids now come to the end of an unconscionably long, excessively expensive, poorly designed academic experience without the slightest idea about how to work or even what work is.

“Many have few or no office skills beyond simple typing for which anyone is willing to pay, by and large, in a standard commercial or non-profit environment. Under these conditions, internships become an essential and necessary part of education, and some of the justice questions that apply to school access now apply to internships as well.”

One of the ideas I am working on for a next-year bill is to make it easier for kids (or adults) to find an apprenticeship where they can learn a valuable skill.

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