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CAC expects all employers to provide compensation for internships to the extent required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other applicable wage and hour laws.
We have included a link to information provided by the US Department of Labor on internship programs for your convenience: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf. This information describes seven factors for an employer to consider in determining whether an intern must be paid as an employee under the FLSA:
- The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee—and vice versa.
- The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
- The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
- The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
- The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
- The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
- The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.
The NY State Department of Labor considers additional factors in determining whether an intern must be paid under New York state law. These factors are summarized at the following link: https://www.labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/factsheets/pdfs/p725.pdf.
SIPA CAC expects employers posting internships taking place in other states to adhere to the wage and hour laws applicable to that employer at the internship site.
Given the cost of higher education and the value interns bring to an organization, CAC encourages organizations that are not required to pay interns to consider paying interns or providing other forms of support, such as a travel allowance, meal per diem, housing, and/or stipend.
If you are a nonprofit (501(c) (3)) organization or a public sector agency and have an internship to advertise, you might be eligible to participate in our Federal Work-Study Program. Information can be found at the following website: http://sfs.columbia.edu/content/becoming-work-study-employer-campus.
Applications can be sent directly to the employer via the email address or employer website indicated in the posting, or they can be submitted through SIPAlink. When applications are submitted through SIPAlink, applications are either sent to the employer as they are submitted or held in the system until a future deadline. The employer then retrieves them from the system or they are sent to the employer by a CAC staff member. Having applicants submit their materials through SIPAlink allows for the employer contact information to be concealed.
You are welcome to visit SIPA even if you don't have immediate hiring needs. We are happy to arrange an information session in which you may speak about your organization and typical hiring needs. Information sessions provide valuable promotional visibility for your organization and the opportunity to meet talented SIPA students and learn about SIPA and its programs. Organizations may send a senior executive, human resources representative, or SIPA alumna/us to present an on-campus information session. We encourage presenters to talk about their culture, and organization and describe typical graduate-level career paths and opportunities. If you are interested in an employer information session, contact Patricia Macken, Director of Employer Relations, at 212-854-4654 or [email protected].
International students offer a wide range of skills and abilities, including multiple languages and cross-cultural skills, maturity, flexibility, proven ability to adapt to new situations, and knowledge of work practices in another country.
International students generally hold F-1 (student) visas while studying in the United States. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) permits students to undertake internships during their studies and full-time employment for a specific period of time after graduation for practical training. The INS defines practical training as paid employment related to the student's field of study.
If you have questions about hiring international students, please consult your human resources department or refer to the Columbia University International Students and Scholars office at www.columbia.edu/cu/isso.
If you are a nonprofit (501(c)(3)) organization or city agency, you may be eligible to participate in the Federal Work-Study Program. The program provides funding for citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., who have been awarded financial aid funding. If you are interested in participating in the program, please contact us at 212-854-4613 or [email protected].
CAC sponsors two major career conferences each year: the Washington D.C. Conference held in January, and the NYC Career Series held throughout the academic year. They consist of career panels, a reception and informational interviews with professionals. Employers are welcome to share their career knowledge and promote their organizations by hosting a site visit during the Washington D.C. Career Conference and/or participating in a career panel during the NYC Career Series. These conferences provide opportunities for you to meet bright and talented SIPA students and to share knowledge of your career field, which is valuable to our student body. If you are interested in participating, please e-mail [email protected].
Many students from SIPA intern overseas during the summer for NGOs, businesses, and international organizations. If your organization has staffing needs in an overseas office, we would be happy to advertise these openings to our students. The Office of Career Services provides a small stipend to help students with their travel costs. However, any stipend, living allowances, or housing assistance that an organization can provide are very helpful and greatly appreciated. To post an overseas internship, please contact us at 212-854-4613 or [email protected].