As a manager at your company (the same one we used in Case 1), you think your company should be offering internships. With all the colleges in the Los Angeles area, you would have a large group of people who should be interested in an internship program. In addition, your company could use the extra help and creativity of about-to-graduate college students. You recently read about Nickerson PME1, a 10-person Boston area marketing and public relations firm. Owner Lisa Nickerson offers a year-round internship program. She calls participants "associates" to make them feel less like "lowly interns" and more like members of the staff.
Her interns receive course credit and work experience, but do not earn a paycheck. Instead, Nickerson teaches them to perform tasks like preparing press releases and promoting the company to clients. The arrangement results in valuable help around the office without draining the budget. Nickerson says, "If you take the time to put together a good program, you don't have to pay the student. An abundance of students want that type of hands-on client experience." You believe that Los Angeles college students would be eager to gain experience at a real company, and fill in their résumés with solid work experience.
The problem is that your boss resists internship programs because he has heard that interns are really employees who must be paid. He told you in a recent conversation that he is unsure of the fine line that separates employees from interns, and he doesn't want to violate any labor laws. Write a persuasive memo message to Dick Elders, Senior General Manager of your company. Explain to him how interns are different from employees. Use the Internet to research the topic, and learn what six requirements help the government determine whether an intern is a paid employee. Use persuasive strategies you have studied, but stay focused on the conviction that interns do not have to be paid as employees. You are on a first-name basis with Dick.