Internships aren't just for college students and bad movie premises anymore. Top tech companies like Facebook and LinkedIn are seeking interns at a younger age than ever, with the idea of converting high school-age talent into staff. Before you get all wound up -- cool it! -- know that these interns are being paid generously for their work: in the range of $5K to $8K each month. Some are courted during high school, with internships taking place the summer between high school's end and freshman year of college. Some are courted even earlier: Bloomberg reports at least one instance where an Oregon startup had pre-high school student as an intern. "I felt like age shouldn't hold me back, as long as I can code," intern James Anderson said. He's now 15.
The worry, of course, is that younger and younger interns making large amounts of money in an adult environment is a recipe for danger. History is littered with examples of this dangerous combination, and Justin Bieber is just the latest, loudest representative.
Thankfully, Bloomberg's report rounds up several examples of caution being shown by Silicon Valley's top recruiters. Facebook head of global recruiting Miranda Kalinowski says that her employer doesn't have black and white rules about age for interns, "though it typically tries to meet college freshmen and recruit from universities." Google outright doesn't have interns who aren't at least college freshmen, and apparently encourages said interns to finish their degrees before jumping ship for Planet Goog.
All in all, it doesn't exactly sound like child labor, though it does sound like a concept with the potential for real danger. Here's hoping we're wrong.
[AP Photo/Eric Risberg]