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.