An Unpaid Internship at the White House

@whitehouse on Twitter alerted me this morning that applications for internships at the White House are due by October 3. I couldn’t help but look at the details, all the while reminded by a quote from the satirical

White people view the internship as their foot into the door to such high-profile low-paying career fields as journalism, film, politics, art, non-profits, and anything associated with a museum. Any white person who takes an internship outside of these industries is either the wrong type of white person or a law student. There are no exceptions.

If all goes according to plan, an internship will end with an offer of a job that pays $24,000 per year and will consist entirely of the same tasks they were recently doing for free. In fact, the transition to full time status results in the addition of only one new responsibility: feeling superior to the new interns.

When all is said and done, the internship process serves the white community in many ways. First, it helps to train the next generation of freelance writers, museum curators, and directors assistants. But more importantly, internships teach white children how to complain about being poor.

I really went to check the internship to see if it was paid. The government support of unpaid (or underpaid) internships, of which many thousands come through government offices every year, makes a mockery of minimum wage laws. I was not disappointed, the internship is full-time and unpaid.

Earlier this year, there was a small uproar over the increase in unpaid internships. Naturally, with firms struggling to stay afloat, they were more than willing to allow recent college graduates to work for them, gaining much needed experience — but not much money.

The Department of Labor released a statement on the legality of unpaid internships. It speaks for itself:

The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

For an internship to be compliant with the DoL, the intern must not add any actual value to the company, and interns are encouraged at times to get in the way.

Unfortunately, a little note at the bottom states that this doesn’t apply to non-profits or the public sector. The demonization of the “for-profit” side of society continues, and the White House is safe from the legal wrath of the Department of Labor.

But seriously, with the amount of money you guys spend each year, you couldn’t even scrape together a small stipend?