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.
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.