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Interns: Starting Young

As college grads increasingly cling to any jobs they can get, high school students are being pushed into the internship market for their first encounters with the world of work. The Chicago Tribune reports:

“Part-time jobs have become scarcer and scarcer for high school students,” said Alison Cooper Chisolm, CEO of Massachusetts-based Ivey College Consulting Inc. “The job at McDonald’s is now being taken by an adult because the adult needs the work.”

Instead, more high school students—at least the ones who can afford to work without pay—are looking for new ways to better themselves and their college prospects, said Chisolm, who worked for more than 10 years in secondary schools and university admissions before entering independent college admissions consulting.

On the one hand, it’s distressing to see that high-school students have so few options when it comes to the low-wage hourly jobs on which they could once cut their teeth as adult workers. On the other, we see an opportunity here to fill an educational gap left open by the typical primary school experience in America. Internships have the capacity to let high-school students peer into the inner-workings of an industry before they’re ready to commit to a career path (as well as whatever high-priced college degrees lie along that path). If internships were more like apprenticeships, as we believe they should be, some students might even discover that it’s in their best interests to skip college entirely.

[Copier image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Matt Heath

    There are a number of organizations that work to provide paid internships for high school students. These organizations are making a big impact on those students and families lives. enables economically disadvantaged youth to get paid internships in IT, Accounting and Engineering Drafting. This year 400 will graduate from paid corporate internships with 500+ next year and growing at 20% or greater going forward. 98% of these graduates go to college. Full disclosure, I work at Genesys Works. It is worth a story.

  • Bruno_Behrend

    “Scarcer and scarcer?!”

    How about “more scarce” or “more and more scarce?”

    The articulation of English in America is collapsing, as Chicago Trib editors let this low level drivel onto their pages.

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