Description of why the NWA Paid Internship Exploratory Committee has formed and what the group hopes to accomplish:
Problem: Unpaid internships are a problem.
First Problem: Unpaid internships is an outdated and unethical practice. Archivists cannot continue to go into debt in order to gain the field experience they need. This perpetuates an inequitable system that limits diversity within the profession and is inherently exclusive versus inclusive. Furthermore, unpaid internships devalues the work of all archivists and therefore devalues the profession.
Second Problem: Many institutions in the Pacific NW rely on internships to complete project work. While some do have resources to fund internships, many others do not.
Solution: This is a huge, societal, beyond-the-archives problem. But, the committee hopes to set an example for how we can combat unethical practices, support interns, and assist under-resourced institutions.
Logistics: There are several logistics the committee needs to explore to determine how the internship will be offered and managed.
What's the Cost?: This may fluctuate dependent upon State rates and taxes, but a full-time summer internship is estimated to cost $5000.
How Do We Fund It?: Some funding has already been committed and the committee will explore additional avenues to develop financial support.
Why NWA?: NWA is a nonprofit, it's more accessible and visible to organizations and interns, and it demonstrates that organizations such as NWA can be part of the solution when it comes to unpaid internships.
What Will the Committee Do?: The committee hopes to create a new model that can replicate and support paid internships in our region. There will be conversations, research, and decisions that will ultimately lead to a proposal for the NWA Board to consider. There are many questions and logistics to figure out in order to construct an opportunity that is beneficial for everyone.
Members of the Committee:
Rachael Cristine Woody, Rachael Cristine Consulting LLC (Chair, Oregon)
Sara Piasecki, National Park Service--Alaska Region (Alaska)
Rachel Thomas, George Fox University (Oregon)
Kathryn Kramer, C.M. Russell Museum (Montana)
Erin Stoddart, University of Oregon (Oregon)
Laura Cray, Oregon Historical Society (Oregon)
Committee Updates (blog posts)
Of Note: There is now a Society of Southwest Archivists Archivist-in-Residence program! As you can see via the link, they've modeled it off of our program and graciously gave credit to NWA in the "Application Process" section. They also link to several of the Resident blog posts and our information webinar video. https://www.southwestarchivists.org/ssa-archivist-in-residence-program/