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    letters | the value of an unpaid internship

    Students appreciate benefit of work experience

    Edward L. Glaeser’s Oct. 31 op-ed “High value in unpaid internships” highlights the pitfalls and benefits of these opportunities for students hoping to get a leg up on their competition for entry-level jobs.

    Time and again, hiring managers and CEOs have told me that they don’t want to have to teach their new employees the basic skills they will need to perform well in their organization.

    We strive to give our students baseline experience in the knowledge and skills to get started. But they need the internships both to attract a potential employer’s attention and to potentially be able to contribute to that employer’s success in a minimum of time.

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    Internships, however, are NOT just for the wealthy. I have students each semester who, in addition to an internship and a requisite number of academic classes, are working part-time jobs to help offset the cost of their education.

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    Why? Because they understand the potential offered by their efforts, and they appreciate the opportunity to learn in a real-life work environment.

    My students and I appreciate those employers who offer at least a stipend as part of the internship. But it is not expected.

    Kirk Hazlett

    Milton

    The writer is associate professor of communication and public relations at Curry College.