It’s almost summer! And with that we’re getting a lot of emails about opportunities at Adafruit for un-paid internships. So, we wanted to do a quick post about this topic. The short statement is: Adafruit will never do un-paid internships. We don’t think it’s a good thing for us in a tough job market and tough economic times to encourage internships for free labor.
Instead we’ve always going to offer paid project-based work and will continue to do so, in addition to actual real positions at Adafruit. This is one of those things we have an opinion about as a company, like the products we make, the IP we give away, and the products we choose to stock, we have specific ideas about how we work with each other here to do the best work. We love to pay people fairly and give them any and all benefits we can provide for being part of this adventure. Many of us here at Adafruit have been in the un-paid internship zone and it wasn’t as glamourous as it’s usually described.
There are industries that are known for their un-paid internships as a way to get a foot in the door, that’s good for them – but not good for us we think.
We also recall a really good article on this topic from the NYTimes…
“If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law,” said Nancy J. Leppink, the acting director of the department’s wage and hour division.
Ms. Leppink said many employers failed to pay even though their internships did not comply with the six federal legal criteria that must be satisfied for internships to be unpaid. Among those criteria are that the internship should be similar to the training given in a vocational school or academic institution, that the intern does not displace regular paid workers and that the employer “derives no immediate advantage” from the intern’s activities — in other words, it’s largely a benevolent contribution to the intern.
We’ve even seen job postings that require the candidate to be an EE with 6 years of experience, just for an “intern” position, not all un-paid, but unfortunately we think the term intern is being a little abused when people actually just want to say “we’re not going to pay you a lot”. The word intern might just need to be defined a little better too.
What is available at Adafruit? For Adafruit we encourage young folks (and really anyone) to publish their projects online, make videos and share their talents with the world. Most/many of the recent hires at Adafruit have been because the maker was sharing what they do online. We actively seek out amazing people sharing and publishing online, if you want a paid position at Adafruit, this is the best way to go about it for sure!
There might be apprenticeships, paid interns, junior staff assistants here (all paid positions) but we wanted to make it clear we’re not offering un-paid internships and why. When we reply to the email requests we can point to this post and any discussion. We’ve cross posted this to our Google+ as well!