UTM’s Experiential Education Coordinator Jennifer Storer-Folt defended the campus’s use of unpaid course-related placements by saying many students wouldn’t be able to get access without the internship course.
“If they didn’t have these opportunities, especially the ones who aren’t as able to go out or the international students, they wouldn’t be able to get these opportunities,” she said.
Storer-Folt cited non-profits, non-government organizations (NGOs) and government offices, as agencies that do not traditionally hire students or allow volunteers. Internships, however, can provide students “specialized, enhanced experience” in these otherwise inaccessible positions.
“The City of Mississauga has taken about 70 interns over the last 15 years,” she said. “On the other hand, the students are getting access to information and processes that they would never otherwise get an opportunity to experience unless they were hired by the city.”
And while the City of Mississauga has summer job programs for students, Storer-Folt said those positions would never be at the level and depth of the internships organized through UTM.
“They would just be worker-bees,” she said.