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Position Statement on US Internship...
Ensures that an experience whether it is a traditional internship or one conducted remotely or virtually is educational and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the NACE definition, all the following criteria must be met:
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student's academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
If these criteria are followed, it is the opinion of NACE that the experience can be considered a legitimate internship.
In order to avoid violating minimum wage laws, for-profit companies should be able to show that unpaid interns will be "trainees" rather than employees.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has developed six criteria for differentiating between an employee entitled to minimum wage and a learner/trainee who, while an employee, may be unpaid. The criteria are:
- The training, although it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school.
- The training is for the benefit of the students.
- The students do not displace regular employees, but work under the close observation of a regular employee or supervisor.
- The employer provides the training and derives no immediate advantage from the activities of students and on occasion, the operations may actually be impeded by the training.
- The students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
- The employer and the student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.
Students who work without pay cannot be considered "volunteers" unless they are working for a nonprofit, charitable or humanitarian organization (i.e. not a for-profit). Please also note, unpaid internships should be structured as part-time (10-15 hours per week). Companies may show that interns are "trainees" by asking the students to obtain college credit for the internship.