April 2010

The Internship Dilemma: No more free lunch

flipping burgersWith summer approaching and unemployment stuck at 9.7%, students looking for a summer job are going to have a tough time, even if they’re willing to flip burgers. Those looking to boost their skill set and resume through a professional internship are really up against the odds.

Summer internships used to be a boon to employers who were looking for “cheap labor” to do filing and answer the phones. As the economy tightened, cheap often became “free”, or internships were eliminated all together.

Looking to build any edge they could in the job market once they graduated, students who could afford to, took the free internships, and moved home with mom and dad, or held another job. According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Employers posted 643 unpaid internships on Stanford University’s job board this academic year, more than triple the 174 posted two years ago.” 

Not so fast: The Federal Labor Department is starting to investigate free internships as possible minimum wage violations. Whether this is a little too much of “Big Brother” is a post for another time,

If you are a college student, or know of one who is looking to gain some valuable international experience this summer, there are some bright spots. One of them, or rather five of them, are  being offered by the “The Business Council for Peace”. Bpeace, headquartered in New York, is an international non-profit coalition of business professionals who believe the path to peace is lined with jobs.

Students accepted as 2010 Bpeace Fellows will work virtually on projects that help developing countries create more employment and lift people out of poverty and violence…and they will be paid. The deadline  to apply is April 19, and the information is available on here on the PR Newswire site.

My Reliable Sources: City Appears To Be On Verge of Act 47

A breaking news alert from The Morning Call has just confirmed what this blog reported over 24 hours ago, that the city of Allentown is headed for an Act 47 filing. (Not that Perspectives was given any credit in the paper for breaking this story, but the readers know where they heard it first.)

In typical City Hall fashion, the Pawlowski administration is still denying it, but both Jarrett Renshaw’s and my sources say it is going to happen.

And since I’m on a roll here, I will take this opportunity to reprint something I wrote over five years ago…

Emergency Medicine: Although not perfect, Act 47 could relieve Allentown’s symptoms of financial distress

Maybe I should add the title “psychic” to the other jobs I do.

The arrogance and hubris of this administration for waiting to do what should have been done years ago is a legacy for which it will always be remembered. So all the deception and obfuscation was for nothing but to drive the city further in to debt. Congratulations on putting ego ahead of the needs of Allentown.

Blogger’s Note, 4/6, 2:10 p.m.: City Hall is denying there will be an Act 47 filing. At this point I’m sticking by my sources. I suspect one or both of two things are going on: What the city is really about to apply for is Act 205, the Municipal Plan Funding and Recovery Act and in the game of “whisper down the lane” that information was transformed into Act 47. And/or the unions got wind of a possible bankruptcy filing and decided to strike the first blow. But the bottom line is, something is going on. The city is drowning and it’s looking for a lifeline. Stay tuned…

The Handling of Other People’s Money

In all the years I’ve been writing and blogging, I’ve run very few ‘blind items’. I don’t do it because there’s so much good stuff to write about that I can openly source that I don’t have to resort to “unnamed officials” who spoke on the condition of anonymity.  But this is not one of those times.

According to some closely placed sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, down at Allentown City Hall, the phrase, “Act 47” is reverberating through the hallways. You may remember that just two weeks ago, The Morning Call reported and this blog commented on the fact that the $10 million borrowed bailout isn’t working quite the way we were all led to believe it would. With a lot of bills coming due in the next year or two, the option of entering the state’s municipal fiscal distress program may be looking like it might be the only way out.

And then there’s the story about a regional organization that decided to create a non-profit foundation so they could give money away to projects they wanted to support. Just one little problem: The foundation has been giving away more money than they’ve been taking in. Where did they get the money from? They’ve been borrowing it from the organization with which they’re affiliated. The foundation is now in debt to the “mother ship” for well in to six figures. So much so that at least one donor who became aware of the situation has decided to not honor this year’s pledge. 

Looks like there’s going to be a lot of talk soon about how people handle other people’s money. Where is Donald Trump when you need him? 

Weekend Wanderings – April 3, 2010

Since this is a weekend for resurrections, I thought I would keep the theme by bringing back to life “Weekend Wanderings”…thoughts, observations, adventures, that have little or nothing to do with news and politics, and that instead focus on the people and places that occupy my rare moments of down time.

Today’s “Wandering” involved fellow bloggers Kathy Frederick who writes the very funny and sardonic “The Junk Drawer”, and Bernie O’Hare who writes one of the best political blogs in the state, “Lehigh Valley Ramblings”. Both Kathy and Bernie have tremendous followings and are very widely read. Blogger Lunch

Blogging is a strange avocation, although for some there’s no “a”…it’s a vocation for which they get paid, but those who make money at blogging are few and far between. Most of us do it because we love to write and enjoy sharing information or stirring the pot, or both. Bernie and I were both impressed when Kathy mentioned that she is now listed on Kindle’s blog list and people are paying to subscribe.

The three of us had so much fun sitting at Pistachio enjoying a gorgeous spring day that we’ve agreed to do it again next month. Bernie wants us to try Thai food at one of his favorite places in Bethlehem. Kathy was less than enthusiastic about that suggestion, but we convinced her to try it if for no other reason than the great material the experience may give her for a blog post. I’m hearing music from “The King and I”.

Wishing everyone all the blessings of Easter and Passover.

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