Paid Internship Pledge

Internships are an important stepping stone to securing that first job and building a career. They provide invaluable skills training, an understanding of work expectations and cultures, and are the start of forming professional networks and meeting potential mentors. Employers gravitate towards candidates -- even when hiring for entry-level positions -- with relevant work experience, so internships can provide a decided leg up.

However, not everyone can participate in internships because so many of the programs are unpaid.

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds may need a summer income to pay for college or life expenses, leaving the career-rich opportunities of unpaid internships out of reach for them and likely filled by students from more well-to-do backgrounds. Unpaid internships leave lower-income students at a significant disadvantage in a competitive labor market, creating a gap between the haves and have-nots that can persist throughout careers.

The One Club for Creativity emphatically believes correcting this inequity starts with us.

Highly talented people are the heart of everything we do, and it is incongruous to devalue them by not paying them for their creativity and work. This matter takes on added urgency today, when advertising is in great need of diversity within our ranks and can benefit tremendously from the richer and more distinctive voices and stories that diversity brings. Leveling the playing field at the very point of entry through paid internships is a simple and effective way to start.

Going forward, The One Club will provide and support only paid internships at a reasonable minimum wage level (currently $15 per hour in the U.S.), and asks all of its agency partners to pledge to do the same. Every agency should determine the amount of pay based on organization and market, with the goal to ensure that career-rich paid internship opportunities are truly accessible and available to all.

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