FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2021
Call to Action: President Biden Should Fund Internships Across Federal Agencies
Pay Our Interns and Next100 Call for Investment in Youth and Diversifying Government
Washington, D.C.–Today, Pay Our Interns and Next100 sent a letter to President Biden calling on his administration to invest in the future of millions of young Americans and a more inclusive democracy by building a more diverse government. As a concrete step toward that investment, the joint letter asked that the President’s Budget Request include funds for every federal agency and the White House to pay their interns.
Providing funding for federal agencies to implement and expand paid internship opportunities would begin to address the historic lack of diversity across agencies, and would accomplish the Administration’s whole-of-government equity agenda by:
- Removing socioeconomic barriers to entry in policy roles at federal agencies.
- Reducing the costs incurred by students who choose public service internships.
- Addressing the short-term goal of diversifying the federal government while addressing long-term staff pipeline issues, since less than 8 percent of federal agency employees are under 30.
Unpaid internships effectively rig the lowest levels of our economy against the millions of young people who have real financial obligations, cutting them off from a pathway to success before they even start their careers. Too often, these opportunities exclude young people of color, setting nearly every industry on a path to diminished racial and economic inclusion. This is problematic in all industries, but especially harmful in public service, where we must build a government that is reflective of and responsive to the communities it hopes to serve.
“The Biden Administration has the opportunity to invest in young people, foster a more diverse and inclusive federal workforce, and build pathways to public service by expanding paid internship opportunities throughout the government,” said Carlos Mark Vera, Executive Director at Pay Our Interns. “The Biden Administration plan for building back better is rooted in a total government approach, and the Administration’s plan for young people should do the same. ”
“Personnel is policy and for too long, the federal government has developed policies without the insight and input of those who are most affected,” said Emma Vadehra, Executive Director of Next100 and former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education. “By paying its interns, the Biden-Harris administration can take a significant step towards building a more diverse, inclusive and responsive government that implements stronger policies.”
Pay Our Interns is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 2016 and led by two formerly unpaid interns of color. It is the nation’s only organization fighting to ensure all students—especially Black, Latinx, and Native American students—have equitable access to professional career paths through the implementation of paid internships countrywide. Pay Our Interns (POI) seeks to ensure individuals from all backgrounds are represented across industries impacting their communities, and develop pathways for advancement. In doing so, POI creates a more equitable workforce, more diverse leadership, and a more just world. POI is headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information visit www.payourinterns.org.
Next100 is a startup think tank for and by the next generation of policy leaders, powered by The Century Foundation, a leading progressive think tank. Next100 is working to change the face and future of progressive policy, and to build a more inclusive, equal, and just America. For more information, visit thenext100.org.