Ivanka Trump Tweets About Unpaid Internships

August 20th 2016

Lucy Tiven

On Thursday, Ivanka Trump stirred up controversy, tweeting a link to an article about "how to make it work as an unpaid intern" published on her website in late July.

There's a lot to unpack in this tweet — from its questionable timing and choice of non-white emojis to the doozy of hashtags used — but even setting these matters of style aside, its message presents fundamental problems.

Most obviously, Ivanka Trump — an heiress with a net worth that's been estimated at about $150 million — may be the wrong person to trumpet the virtues of unpaid labor.

And recent research has shown that unpaid internships aren't all that virtuous.

In addition the financial strains these positions place on young people during the duration of their internships, unpaid interns are far less likely to land jobs than paid interns, according to a July study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers and reported by the Wall Street Journal. Unpaid interns also were offered significantly lower salaries than their paid counterparts.

The piece suggests getting a part-time job.

The piece's author instructs readers to take up a part-time job to pay bills. The post even mentions such positions, suggesting that aspiring interns consider "working as a retail associate or hostess on the side to intern at your dream company."Waitresses

As ATTN: has previously reported, even Milennials doing full-time paid work aren't bringing home enough to live comfortably in any of the country's 50 most populous cities. But New York City, where Trump is based, is especially pricey: you would need a salary of around $87,446 a year to live comfortably, according to personal finance site GOBankingRates.

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Darren Walker addressed the problems and inequalities that internships present.

From Walker:

"We often hear that success is 'all about the people you know' — as if it’s just a matter of equal-opportunity relationship building. We rarely talk about how one knows them, or about the privilege that has become a prerequisite to knowing the right people. I sometimes get calls and emails from friends seeking help in landing internships for their children. I understand what they’re doing; this is part of being a parent. Still, it’s a reminder that America’s current internship system, in which contacts and money matter more than talent, contributes to an economy in which access and opportunity go to the people who already have the most of both."

Walker pointed out that unpaid internships are too-often only accessible through personal connections and are not often a financial option to low-income applicants. He continued with the solution: pay interns.

"Many organizations are beginning to pay interns. This is important because employers should not only compensate students for their time and contributions, but also eliminate barriers that prevent low-income and underrepresented students from pursuing these opportunities."

"By shutting out these students from entry-level experiences in certain fields, entire sectors engineer long-term deficits of much-needed talent and perspective," he wrote for the Times. "In other words, we’re all paying the price for unpaid internships."