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    students are unpaid

    Americans, please stop this.

    I worked at a startup in Colorado and had a paid high school intern on my team. It is possible to pay young people. Please never not pay them.

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      Given the serious leeway and actual mentorship going on here, at least for teaching the student C and building non-business-related projects, I can see why paying the student here was not done.

      This didn’t seem like one of the normal exploitative arrangements using free or underpaid labor, but instead very much a chance to mentor a student and teach them concrete and full skills equivalent to a few college courses. Such teaching is a bargain even when unpaid. Also note that for a full year there was no personal benefit to the mentor or financial benefit to the business…so paying would’ve been strictly an act of charity.

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        Yeah, reading the post this seems to have met the federal standards for unpaid internships, which many unpaid internships do not meet. The purpose was educational, and the student wasn’t engaged in any business work that would otherwise be done by an employee. While in general many unpaid internships are exploitative, this doesn’t appear to have been.

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        We had a 16 year old intern this summer and we paid him. And when I worked at a web company in high school I was paid as well.

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          Fwiw, they’re pretty common in the UK too, though usually through formalized educational schemes (example). Either the govt or a charity will run a matching program where school-aged students apply, and those chosen are matched up with a company for a summer. They aren’t paid, but the program will pay their commute expenses typically. A small number of students from poorer families may also be provided a stipend, in order to broaden the demographics of the program’s participants (which ends up being sort-of like paying a subset of students).