The Center on Policy Initiatives, or CPI, is one of the leaders locally in pushing to increase to the minimum wage in the city of San Diego.

And now, it is recruiting interns to fight for fair wages and increase the local minimum wage.

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“The Organizing Intern will be supporting the Organizing Department with their campaigns around raising the minimum wage and low wage workers’ issues,” the job posting reads. The qualifications required of applicants indicate they’ll be doing some work on email programs and maybe even translating — not just learning.

Unfortunately, here’s the (non-)money quote:

These internships are unpaid but are a great way to build your resume and get experience working at an organization that advocates for economic justice in the region. CPI can offer internships for course credit if it is available through your college campus. We are proud of our alumni and will gladly provide references for hard-working interns seeking employment or other internships.

Come support the push for a minimum wage. Just don’t expect a wage.

No, you don’t get any pay but you can turn into a “glitter unicorn for social justice” according to CPI’s Facebook page.

Who doesn’t want to be a glitter unicorn?

CPI says it will have both unpaid and paid interns working on the effort.

The irony, of course, is that as the minimum wage increases, paid internship opportunities will be reduced.

The national push to eliminate unpaid internships has been extraordinarily swift and effective. Voice of San Diego’s internship program is paid and has been for a many years now. I do see the value in occasionally bringing on interns from whom you don’t expect any productivity but who you’re willing to expose to how things work.

In other words, I get that there’s a place for unpaid internships.

But working to raise the minimum wage doesn’t seem like that place.

Update: Clare Crawford, the executive director of CPI posted this response on Twitter, which I’ve collected here:

Our main intern program is full time for summer and pays city of SD living wage (going to $15 this yr). We have a small unpaid program for college students designed by the student with their staff mentor and they can get credit and it’s designed for their learning experience. For essential work, we hire staff.

Here was the description of work of the unpaid organizing intern:


Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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