III. The Right To Equal Opportunity Internships
The colloquial phase “College poor” is – now more than ever – reality-based. Loan debt aside, the bare essential cost of living makes unpaid internships economically unfeasible to pursue for a growing number of America’s youth. As such, they inherently separate the ‘haves’ from the ‘have not’s’ and thus create socioeconomic disparities.
This goes to the very heart of equal opportunity employment and career development.
While we acknowledge the acceptability for non-profit organizations to retain a compensation exception, we must still consider all options to increase accessibility for disadvantaged youth to pursue careers in public service.
III. We call on the Federal & State Government(s)
a) To establish tax credit programs for small businesses that could not otherwise afford to host paid internship programs the opportunity to provide opportunities. These would involve additional support measures, such as free training and certification programs to promote quality assurance.
b) Pass legislation that creates a system of financial supports for low-income students14, including for those who wish to pursue public service internships in government agencies or non-profit organizations.
The payment of modest subsidies for such a “Federal Intern Study” system could easily be administered through the existing federal work-study infrastructure at over 3,000 colleges.