Internships are steppingstones to future careers, but the unpaid stints can often put students in a bind — especially those who can’t afford to take a job without a paycheck.
It’s why the nonprofit Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation has doled out $5.2 million to 40 colleges in its Career Ready Internship grant — including 10 colleges in Minnesota — to help turn unpaid internships into paid ones. The group recognizes that unpaid internships could give a competitive advantage to wealthy students while leaving others behind.
Colleges awarded the grant will work with businesses to create new paid internships with the funds and pay students who are holding unpaid internships. The U.S. Department of Labor has a six-factor legality test for unpaid internships, mandating that interns don’t take the spots of regular employees and that the employers don’t receive immediate benefits from the work of interns.