Unpaid internships are a bit of an open secret in the architecture world. Firms—particularly in times of economic stress—need whatever help they can get, and students (and increasingly recent graduates) badly need the experience to jump-start their careers. But, as we reported several months ago, these internships have come under fire lately, thanks to a few lawsuits brought by interns in other industries.
In an issue that has always been close to our hearts, we at SHoP Architects would like to comment on the issue of unpaid interns:
In our 17+ years of operation, SHoP Architects has NEVER once hired an unpaid intern, nor have we exchanged experience for school credit. Our mission now is as clear and simple as it was on day 1: we compensate our staff with a salary that allows them to live in NYC. We hire selectively—SHoP’s employees hail from all over the world and come from the top schools, bringing with them invaluable experience and ideas. We value our talented, diverse, and brilliant staff and are proud to compensate them justly for their work, often including visa sponsorships.
At SHoP, it’s much more than just paying our staff justly and fairly, we also provide and pay for full medical insurance benefits for all full-time employees. We believe in a healthy, happy, well-supported staff, and we are proud that we are able to provide them with the benefits they deserve. We take care of all the members of our family.
As leaders and innovators not only in the architecture world, but in New York City, we hope that our colleagues, peers—everyone, will follow suit. Love your staff, pay it forward. Support the people that support you.
We encourage business owners, interns, and students to review this website for the Unpaid Intern Legal Class Action Lawsuit in NYC. http://www.unpaidinternslawsuit.com/