The end of unpaid internships?

4:44 PM, Jun 13, 2013   |    comments
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Making the most of an internship

MINNEAPOLIS--It's a rite of passage that's now a summer movie.

In "Internship," Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn crash Silicon Valley as Google interns.

But it's another movie sparking a controversy that could become a class action lawsuit. Two men who were interns during the filming of "Black Swan" are suing Fox Searchlight Pictures, saying the work they did should have been paid.

Attorney Nancy Vollertsen says it's a good reminder that internship rules should be well defined. Nonprofits usually don't pay interns, but Vollertsen says companies should offer either a paycheck or documented college credit. She says handled right, internships can be good for both sides.

"A lot of people are coming out school without a lot of practical experience," said Vollertsen, a partner at Lindquist & Vennum. "So if the internship gives them something, I think it's going to continue."

It will continue at Fast Horse, where interns often get full time jobs. The Minneapolis integrated marketing agency has a yearly competition for its internship program, this year won by recent college graduate Dominic Johnson, who applied with a video resume. This is his fifth internship, one that's giving him a salary and job skills.

"To get into a growing agency especially one like Fast Horse is so fortunate," Johnson said.

For the intern, and for the employer.

"We look for the best of the best," said Fast Horse Senior Director Bob Ingrassia. "And it's a mutually beneficial arrangement."

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