I always love it when Joe Patti doesn’t hold back on a topic and he really opened up on one near and dear to me: predatory arts org internships.
He examines an internship environment that was so caustic, it caught the attention of the L.A. Times and he brought everything together in the best possible way:
As business journals try to analyze the motivations behind the current Great Resignation, it would behoove the theater world to note that people have left jobs that were far less onerous than the internship/apprenticeship conditions that exist. If any sector needs to change their business model quickly to respond to the times, it is arts and culture. These practices were never the most constructive element in the career pathway in the best of times, it would be surprising if they remain viable at all going forward.
Arts and culture degrees are already stupid expensive with depressingly low placement rates, so the entire notion of a paid internship has always seemed wrong to me. The summer before the pandemic, I started an internship program for software engineers that focuses heavily on mentorship and the thought of making it something they must apply for never entered the picture. In fact, it became clear very early on that if we wanted to attract exceptionally promising talent, it meant offering at least $45/hr and sticking the mentorship landing.
Go give Joe’s article a read, you’ll be glad you did.