Unpaid internships add stress to students

Internships used to be an opportunity for students getting closer to graduation to gain experience in the profession of their choice. Most internships are unpaid, and an intern would be lucky if they found a company willing to do so.

Today, internships have become more of a requirement, rather than a way to gain experience, for college students about to enter into the workforce. But ever since the unemployment rate reached 7.7 percent in 2011, unpaid internships have become a financial problem.

Granted, an unpaid internship is a way to gain valuable experience, but students who also work to pay for school or to support a family may not be able to afford working for a company that does not pay its interns.

Additionally, internships were usually designed as a trail period between companies and the intern. At the end of an internship period, the company would then decide if he or she was the right person to bring on to the company as a full-time employee.

This unpaid employment trend is being used to benefit the company financially, but there is no guarantee that a company will offer student interns a paid, full-time position once they graduate, making unpaid internships an even riskier bet.

Though a good amount of companies are posting these internship opportunities without pay, there are some companies who have become fearful of the repercussions of unpaid labor and are now paying their interns.

Internships are designed for students to gain workforce experience so they are doing the type of work that they would actually encounter as an employee. Companies should, at the very least, pay the interns the federally required minimum wage so they can cover the cost of the basics such as food, water and transportation to work while gaining that ever-sought-out experience that most companies require.