Developed this summer, but currently making the rounds on the Internship-Net listserv, the Cooperative Education & Internship Association (CEIA) has released its position statement on the issue of unpaid internships.
For context, concerns over the increase in unpaid internships came to a head in a New York Times article from April 2010. The article examined the legality of unpaid internships, which sparked many questions and conversations in the internship community. A coalition of university presidents, including Kevin Reilly, President of the UW System, issued their response to Secretary Solis of the Department of Labor and expressed concerns over the impact of stronger regulations on internships.
The legal issues have been confusing for many. The Department of Labor introduced Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act to help clarify matters. By the end of June 2010, the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) issued their position on unpaid internships.
CEIA’s position, from July 2011, is as follows:
CEIA aims to provide resources and guidance for educators and employers engaging in internship programs. This organization actively supports student participation in valuable internship experiences which offer dedicated supervision, meaningful and educationally relevant work, and opportunities for mentoring and networking. These experiences are to be of value to both parties, allowing for purposeful and effective outcomes.
Though employers decide if an internship will be funded, educators determine when an internship is credit worthy. CEIA supports the fact that academic credit is not the same as compensation. CEIA recognizes that there are also stipulations and guidelines which may impact financial compensation. All employers are strongly encouraged to follow rules and regulations pertaining to local and federal labor laws when determining remuneration options. Knowing there is not one universal procedure within the higher education community for documenting internships, employers are encouraged to acknowledge each educational institution’s policies in order to best serve the student.
What do you think about CEIA’s position statement?