It’s the perverse nature of unpaid internships that the only ones worth having are at places that can easily afford to (or do) make these paid positions.
How many less unemployed, especially young unemployed, would we have if the ‘unpaid internship’ had not exploded in popularity in the last eight years?
There is great value in having an internship at Google, Apple or Facebook, and rarely any value at having an internship at a small, local tech firm. Guess which ones pay? Not only pay, but provide transportation and housing. Guess which ones you are actually part of a development team, and which one you are either a gofer or unpaid coder (DOE)?
For almost twenty years I’ve been on a tech jobs mailing list from one of the local colleges. Every day a list of a couple dozen positions lands in my inbox. During the last eight years it has become primarily a list of unpaid ‘internships.’ ‘Internships’ requiring several years of coding experience in a specific language, and at which the ‘intern’ will be required to code a specific project which the company or individual (yes, some of these ‘internships’ are for private individuals. Didn’t we outlaw this 150 years ago?) will use to (or attempt to) make money.
This is in Portland, Oregon. The silicon forest.
Like the H1B visa, unpaid internships have been used by greedy individuals to profit at the expense of others.
Like the H1B visa, unpaid internships need to be strictly regulated to prevent the current massive abuse of American workers.