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First Problem: Unpaid internships is an outdated and unethical practice.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.
Timeline: The exploratory committee will form and have at least one (1) call in April, and one (1) in-person meeting at the NWA 2019 Annual Conference. It is the committee's hope to solidify the idea and process and seek NWA Board approval by end of Summer 2019, promote and educate to solicit applications in Fall 2019, review applications in Winter 2020, and announce in time for internship placement in early-Spring 2020.
Members of the Committee:
Rachael Cristine Woody, Rachael Cristine Consulting LLC (Chair, Oregon)
Sara Piasecki, Anchorage Museum (Alaska)
Veronica Denison, University of Alaska (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)