Rebecca Delaney

Rebecca Delaney is a TAP Spring 2010 intern.

Recent Articles

About Those Unpaid Internships

TAP talks with Dalton Conley about a Department of Labor crackdown on the intern racket.

College students attend an internship orientation program. (Flickr/USDAgov)
The Department of Labor recently ignited debate when it reminded employers of those pesky minimum-wage laws. The move suggested the government is no longer keen on tolerating companies that don't pay their interns and compensate them instead with college credit. It turns out that there's a pretty narrow legal window in which interns don't have to be paid, and a fair number of employers who now offer unpaid gigs probably can't shimmy through it. After years of the "unpaid internship" bullet point finding its way onto more and more college students' resumés, the Labor Department crackdown has spurred a number of questions. To help shed light on some broader issues behind these concerns, TAP talked to Dalton Conley, a Center for American Progress scholar and dean of social sciences at New York University. He has written about wealth and poverty, social mobility, and social class. If unpaid internships are a real problem, why has it taken so long for the issue to blow up? I think it has...

Man Does Not Live on "College Credit" Alone.

Tackling unpaid internships at Inside Higher Ed , Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun fears the Department of Labor's recent clampdown on illegally unpaid internships could discourage employers from bringing students on board because of cost. Instead of depending on the government, he argues, colleges should step in and police unpaid internships themselves to ensure they provide a genuine educational experience -- one that is worth college credit: Schools can and should require employers to provide detailed job descriptions that set clear expectations. In addition, employers should outline the learning outcomes students are expected to achieve upon completing their experiences. But that's what a lot of colleges end up doing anyway, and students still wind up performing mundane data entry or dusting bookshelves for free. Too often, colleges have companies sign quick contracts that they don't read, and because students get credit for their gigs, employers assume the Fair...

Summer Opportunities for Indentured Servitude.

The Times is keeping debate over unpaid internships percolating with a piece that could have been ghostwritten by the folks at Stuff White People Like. The article looks at how the Obama administration’s shift toward stricter enforcement of minimum-wage laws is hurting honest, hard-working rich kids who can’t find a place to perform indentured servitude anymore. Most irritating, it features a quote from the CEO of an entrepreneurial group that refutes any qualms about unpaid internships with a neat libertarian meme: “I was an unpaid intern and I had no problem with it.” Which is just a slightly fancier way of saying, “I got mine, who cares about you?” The meat of this argument -- one championed particularly vigorously by John Stossel -- is that unpaid internships ultimately help the students who hold them and are part of the initiation process to a number of high-prestige fields. But this ignores the legions of kids who get shut out of unpaid internships altogether because they fail...

Unemployment Reax Roundup.

A variety of reactions to today's disappointing unemployment numbers : The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Chad Stone : “Under these circumstances, policymakers should have no qualms about passing a robust jobs bill — indeed, they would be derelict not to.” White House Economic Adviser Cristina Romer : “The fact that the unemployment rate fell and private employment rose are obviously encouraging signs that recovery continues. At the same time, the continued high level of unemployment and the slowdown in private sector job growth emphasize the need for continuing vigilance.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi : “Today's jobs report marks another step forward for our middle class, working families, and small businesses, but it is not enough. We must do more to strengthen our private sector, support our small businesses, and keep our economy moving in the right direction.” House Republican Leader John Boehner : “Stagnant private sector job growth is clearly cause for concern and...

BP's Fake Twitterfeed.

Depressed about the oil spill? This (fake) BP public-relations Twitter feed, BPGlobalPR offers some dark humor. A sample: Just got 100k followers and our oil is headed to Florida. You know what this means... WE'RE GOING TO DISNEYWORLD! #bpcares We don't want to alarm anyone, but the robot didn't get stuck. It stopped on it's own accord and grinned at us. #skynet As part of our continued re-branding effort, we are now referring to the spill as "Shell Oil's Gulf Coast Disaster". #bpcares If we're being accused of being criminals, we want to be tried by a jury of our peers- wealthy execs who don't give a damn. #fairisfair The feed has gone viral , recently hitting 100,000 followers. It also raised $10K for a Gulf-area nonprofit selling T-shirts that feature a black, smudged BP logo with the message, “BP cares.” At least something associated with BP has been effective. -- Rebecca Delaney

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