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letters | the value of an unpaid internship

Firms can provide fertile ground for job training

Edward L. Glaeser is hitting the nail on the head with regard to developing and promoting skill-based internships (“High value in unpaid internships,” Op-ed, Oct. 31). Internships provide the first rung on the career ladder for many young people. They have their root in apprenticeships, a practice that demanded as much from mentors as from apprentices.

Last summer, the American City Coalition hosted six paid internships in community-based organizations across the city. It was a positive experience for the interns and the organizations they served. But the positive experience was the result of a coordinated effort to develop challenging and rewarding projects for interns and to create an environment with high expectations.

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The coalition is working on a study that will recommend policies to provide incentives to businesses across the city to hire 15- to-21-year-olds and to commit to their development and training. Internships or part-time jobs provide a practical foundation that contributes to understanding business, responsibility, and commitment. In essence, we feel that businesses in Boston are the biggest, most effective job-training program available.

Fostering an equitable society depends on our ability to create real-life learning opportunities for young people in all businesses.

Neil McCullagh

Director

The American City Coalition

Dorchester

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