Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hiring Is Rising in One Area: Low-Paid Interns

By Lingxiao Li

The new variation, now called an internship, is not the painstaking, multiyear experience it once was, but it still offers the same advantages: a chance for a worker to gain knowledge at little or no cost to the employer. In boom times, companies with too much work for existing employees — yet not enough work to justify another hire — may have turned to temporary workers. But with the economy still in the doldrums, companies again are opting for unpaid or low-paid internships to get the extra work done. And internships are no longer just the province of college students. More unemployed professionals are seeking them — whether to test-drive a new career or simply to keep themselves occupied, according to internship placement services. Mr. Rodems, of Fast Track Internships, said 10 percent of his clients were college graduates changing professions, compared with just 1 percent in 2008.
For employers, setting up an internship program is relatively easy and inexpensive. Veterans of the hiring process say business owners interested in offering internships should develop relationships with local college professors who can choose good intern candidates and seek legal advice to ensure that federal and state labor laws are followed. Business owners should have a clear idea of what they want from an intern and then interview candidates in the same way they do potential regular employees.

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