Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Keuka College my Alma Mater.....Shame on you

Experiential learning:  Real name:  Internship, or work for free program.

My son's friend is working at an internship, he left his paying job in order to work at it.  He lives with his Mom, but how many students, trying to support themselves, can realistically do an unpaid internship?  I was reading an article that says students are suing big companies for compensation they worked for.  I don't blame them one bit.

When I worked in Indiana, I had an intern working with me in the program I coordinated.  Purdue University, like too many places of higher learning, requires an internship for college credit.  But, as the article I just read points out, an internship is not paying their rent, utilities or buying food.   My intern had to work two jobs to pay her rent, she worked nights for money and days with the county in my program, for free. 

When I attended Keuka College, they have what they like to call an "Experiential Learning Program", basically an internship too.  Keuka College requires four of them, one for each semester you attend.  Oh they'll tell you 'you can work at a paid internship' of course if you can find one......lot's of luck Phil!  I say, shame on Keuka, Purdue and all other colleges who supply big businesses with slave labor.  Most interns will tell you that instead of learning anything about the business...........they learn to sweep floors, schlep boxes, luggage and papers for the 'boss' and they sure do learn how to make a good cup of coffee.  I thought 'Gee, she makes good coffee" went out with the Mad Men era, apparently not.  Yeah, I mention these higher learning institutions by name, why not, I don't owe either of them any loyalty.  But they should be ashamed for promoting slave labor.

The other bad part of this internship B.S. is the fact that many, many adults now go back to college hoping to better their lives and earning power.  So the naysayers out there saying: "Stupid single Mom, using food stamps"  pisses me off because 'Mom" is trying to better herself.  Know why?  Because Welfare to Work just isn't working.  If Mom has to work fast food, or as a clerk in retail, chances are she still has to get food stamps to feed her kids.

How in hell does any college or university think Mom can pay rent, feed her kids, pay for child care or buy food for her household while doing the internship slave labor?  How does Dad, who may be taking a nursing program to support his family pay his bills? 

The statement: "You'll get a better job if you have experience and do an internship"  is pure fantasy.  Each year Keuka College shuts down classes for the month of January, making students do internships (OOPS, I mean Experiential Learning) but I see, a college giving professors and staff a 31 day vacation while students drive (seen the price of gas lately?) to a damned job for no money.  Gawd!  That has always annoyed me to no end.  I did four of the stupid things and still had to move out of state to find a job using my degree.  Keuka College likes to tout itself as 'the OT college)  Occupational Therapy is a specialty in the medical profession, like therapists and nurses are.)  Yet, even those students ended up in the same state I was working in because for some damned reason NY State would not hire them either.  What the hell?

I have to agree with the students who are suing, because ALL internships, free and slave labor should be outlawed.  I thought the Civil War abolished slavery, but now it comes under a new name.  Same shit, different day!  

P.S.:  If Keuka College is going to require slave labor, they could at the very least, have it be community service, helping make Penn Yan a better place.  Lord knows Penn Yan needs all the help it can get.