The first time I was in a meeting and we were discussing hiring some kids just out of college as interns, as in free labor, I was blown away.  I have mixed feelings on the intern.

I totally get that the economy is not exactly booming so free labor is a beautiful thing.  Letting someone in a door is a phenomenal opportunity for that person.  They get to learn, make contacts and if they are lucky, eventually get hired for pay.  Internships have been around forever. 

Personally, I have hooked up many kids in fantastic internships.  Most of these kids are either in college or high school.  Each of their individual experiences have helped them grow and of course put on the old resume.  Yet, the problem with not paying interns is not paying them.

I have known several kids to go on interviews for unpaid internships and this is what they are told.  You must work 3 months and you must work 9-6 five days a week.  Understandably there needs to be some rules set.  Having someone fly in for 3 weeks is not worth it when it takes a few weeks just to find the bathroom, I get that.   If these kids were getting paid something, they might feel a bit different about hard labor for little pay vs no pay at all.  Getting paid is important.  It recognizes your worth.  It could be as much as 200 a week.

MOUSE, although a non-profit, asks every school that works with MOUSE pay them something for their services.  When people pay, they have a very different ownership of the property. 

I get the internship but perhaps companies should start to rethink the cost of free labor.