Job listings on Craigslist these days are full of companies looking for young people willing to work for no salary. In New York, internships are available at businesses ranging from advertising agencies in midtown to a “cake studio” in Brooklyn. They want people who are “positive” and “energetic.” And one more thing: they want college students. As one agency looking for an unpaid videographer put it, “PLEASE NOTE: You must be in school and receive school credit in order to join us.”
Why would companies care about college credit? Because employers, students and colleges have all been caught in the complex web of credentialing, job training and financial self-interest that increasingly characterizes American higher education.