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NACE Internship Resources

Message to the Membership

Unpaid internships have been a topic of discussion and concern for the past two years. Last year, NACE provided its membership and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) with a position statement, which included a recommendation that the DOL review its criteria used to determine whether internships may be unpaid. To date, the DOL has not revised or clarified those criteria.

Key to the ongoing debate regarding unpaid internships is the absence of a definition of what constitutes an "internship," and specific criteria that may be used to assess opportunities. Recognizing this void, the NACE Principles for Professional Practice Committee proposed, and the NACE Board of Directors has approved, the following Position Statement to provide members with guidance in this area. In addition, NACE is providing the DOL as well as other government offices with the definition/criteria to further the national discussion on internships.

We welcome your thoughts and dialogue on this issue and invite you to participate by forwarding your thoughts to NACE at


Position Statement Abstract

Experiences through which students can apply their academic knowledge in work settings are a vital component of a college education. These experiences are widely labeled as "internships," but the criteria for and oversight of these experiences vary widely among institutions of higher education and employers in the United States. This paper examines the characteristics of a legitimate internship and the conditions under which such an experience can be engaged on an unpaid basis. At the foundation of this paper is the tenet that an internship is a legitimate learning experience benefitting the student and not simply an operational work experience that just happens to be conducted by a student.


View more abstracts from the NACE position statement:

by reinecka — last modified Sep 06, 2011 02:17 PM

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