Paid Internship

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Paid Internship Policy: This policy applies to Non Profit Apprenticeship paid for by Free Geek. It was approved at the Free Geek staff meeting of May 21, 2004.
List of Policies - Policy Development


This was approved at the Free Geek staff meeting of May 21, 2004. based upon an ad hoc committee report and policy proposal. The Staff Categories policy enacted in March 2007 changed things a bit.

It's noteworthy that, prior to March, 2007, the term "Exploratory Interns" was used in the place of "Exploratory Workers", and these workers were considered another type of paid intern. Just to help you through all that older documentation.

Definition of Paid Internship

  • Paid, or Job Experience Interships are designed to help people learn skills and gain some resume quality experience.
  • Paid Interns are paid hourly. Unlike Staff Collective members, they do not receive health care, vacation, sick, retirement, or holiday benefits.
  • Paid Interns, along with other staff and key volunteers make up Core.

Types of Paid Internships

There are two types of Paid Internships at Free Geek:

NOTE: The Staff Categories policy enacted in March 2007 changes this a bit.

Duration of Internship

Paid Internships are limited to six months with a review mid term.

  • We set Paid Internships to a maximum length of six months, with a 3 month review. However, if necessary, the collective can decide to extend the internship once for specific period not to exceed three months. This option should be rarely used.
  • The internships are limited to a single term because we want to extend the opportunity for a paid internship at Free Geek to as many of our community members as possible.

Expectations for Paid Internships

  • Job Experience Interns are expected to work on the day to day functions in the area to which they are assigned, including training volunteers in that area if appropriate.
  • Exploratory interns are expected to develop and document areas to which they are assigned, working with volunteers and other staff members in doing so. Additionally, Exploratory Interns are expected to formally report to the collective and to Council.
  • Collective Members, by contrast, are expected to understand how the various areas of Free Geek interact and work on the long term goals of the areas to which they are assigned.
  • It's a good idea for paid interns to take on a project towards the end of his/her internship. This project could be created during the intern's review. The skills, aptitudes, and personality of the intern should help determine the shape of the project.

(NOTE: This does not preclude interns from working on the longer term goals. It is simply out of the scope of expectations for the internship job descriptions.)

Becoming a Collective Member

Free Geek always holds an open hiring process for collective positions, even if a prospective collective member is already an intern. However, there a mechanism for circumventing that in exceptional cases.

Changing Between Types of Worker

If we change a Job Experience Internship into an Exploratory Position, or vice versa, we will go through a standard hiring process, including developing and posting a new job description.


Related policies

Hiring Paid Interns

Paid intern hiring committees should keep in mind that we're hiring for "aptitude, not experience". This should be reflected in all facets of the hiring process, including hiring criteria, interview questions, and thinning, and candidate choice.

Past Experiments

There was a type of collective member that was somewhat similar to the idea of an Exploratory Intern, where the compensation for the position is linked to the amount of income it brings to the organization. This model was used both for the Sales Coordinator and the Printer Coordinator positions. From Council email list, July 2002:

Since FREE GEEK can not risk a full salary for the job, the salary would have to come from increased [income from their activity]. Here is a plan that limits FREE GEEK's risk, encourages the sales coordinator to increase sales, and works up to a regular staff position:

The position would receive compensation on a monthly basis. The compensation would be based on the income brought in from [their activity] based on the following schedule:

  • 25% of the 1st $1,000
  • 40% of the amount over $1,000
  • 50% of the amount over $2,000

The salary would go to a maximum of whatever the prevailing salary of FREE GEEK staff (currently $1,000).

If the [position] could maintain enough of an [increase in] income to justify her salary, then the position would transmogrify into a regular staff [collective] position. At this point the Sales Coordinator would share in all the standard responsibilities of FREE GEEK staff and work a standard (staff determined) schedule. Before this point, the Sales Coordinator would be have the above responsibilities and be required to attend staff meetings and would work whatever schedule necessary to bring the sales income up to a reasonable maximum for FREE GEEK.