December 12, 2018
Philadelphia's Office of the Mayor announced Tuesday that its internship program would start paying interns a living wage year-round — including the 50 incoming students working for Mayor Jim Kenney next summer.
Summer interns, both undergraduate and graduate, work for a minimum of 25 hours for 10 weeks from June to August in Kenney's office, learning daily operations of the executive branch, getting leadership training, and completing "substantive work assignments," according to the internship posting that's active now.
The city's Internship Program Manager Gianna Grossmann announced the official change on Tuesday via Twitter.
Excited to OFFICIALLY announce that this summer's Mayor's Internship Program will be a PAID program. So what are you waiting for? Apply today! https://t.co/kQ8yDXTpEA pic.twitter.com/VF1m1PFskX— Gianna Grossmann (@GiannaPHL) December 11, 2018
From now on, we will pay our summer interns a living wage. It’s the right thing to do. #PHLCityJobs https://t.co/aWRVHKFtUO— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) December 11, 2018
Billy Penn reported interns will make $12.25 an hour, a living wage — compared to Pennsylvania's $7.25-per-hour minimum wage — that will be offered not just to the summer interns, but to participating students year-round. The whole year will cost the Mayor's Office about $150,000.
Applications are open to undergrads who have completed their sophomore years prior to June 2019 or graduate-level students, including recently graduated seniors.
The issue of unpaid city government internships was brought to attention by Temple University students last August. Then, the Inquirer called for action in an editorial in September.
Studies show that one in four graduates have had to do an unpaid internship. And a large proportion (43 percent) of those unpaid interns rely on living for free with family and friends. More than a quarter are dependent on money from their parents, the Guardian reported.
Just this week, newly-elected U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out members of Congress who were not paying their interns or their staffs livable wages.
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