Published in the New York Times | April 19, 2016
Internships Are Not a Privilege
By Darren Walker
TALENT is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. And while many Americans believe fervently and faithfully in expanding opportunity, America’s internship-industrial complex does just the opposite.
As the summer internship season gets into full swing, consider, for instance, how a plum internship may alter a young person’s career trajectory. While some students take a summer job in food service to pay the bills, others can afford to accept unpaid jobs at high-profile organizations, setting them on a more lucrative path.
I remember my own paid internships with fondness and gratitude, especially my formative experience working for the Texas Legislature. As a low-income kid from a small town who entered college without an extended network, my internships equipped me with the skills, confidence and relationships to channel my potential into a rewarding career.
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