Unpaid interns…for a price?

Alexa Barrero

Contributing Writer

Many VCU majors require students to participate in internships. However, finding an internship for many is a problem.

This dilemma has become an opportunity for internship-placement companies to make a quick buck. For the right price, a student can secure an internship.

Julie Wilson, a VCU mass communications major, says she does not like the idea of these internship companies.

“As an intern, I work for free, because I hope to gain experience,” Wilson said. “The idea of paying to intern would be me paying my employer to gain experience, and that is wrong.”

One internship-placement company called Dream Careers located in Los Gatos, Calif., guarantees students an internship over an eight-week period in a summer-camp setting. Students essentially can pay for the “dream internship.” The company’s website, www.summerinternships.com, allows students to browse internships from various fields ranging from film to interior design.

Dream Careers offers internships with price tags ranging from $5,000 to $9,500. According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center and posted on dailymarket.com, “Approximately 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during this recession.”

Another internship-placement company Fast Track Internships, located in Highland Village, Texas, will create a student resume for $799 to $999. Depending on the student’s choice of field, the company also will send out resumes to any one of their 300 different internship providers.

The price the student will pay for an internship depends on whether the student wishes to receive a non-paid internship versus a paid internship.

Fast Track however, does not limit its clientele to undergraduate students. Recent college graduates also can hire the company to assist in landing their dream job for the price of $1999.

“I would never recommend paying a service to locate an internship,” Carol Mawyer, VCU school of Mass Communications internship supervisor said. “We have multiple resources on campus that can help a student find an internship.”

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