NWA is exploring the possibility of supporting an NWA internship fund to provide scholarships to students or grants to organizations to pay interns a living wage.
Action: Please email Rachael Woody if you're interested in joining this exploratory committee: email@example.com.
Problem: Unpaid internships are a problem. In the last few years I've become less and less tolerant of the field's current practice of forcing the next wave of archivists to go into debt in order to gain the field experience they need.
First Problem: Unpaid internships is an outdated and unethical practice, and it's inherently classicist with racist implications.
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, NWA can set the example for how we can combat unethical practices, support interns, and assist under-resourced institutions.
What's the Cost?: This may fluctuate dependent upon State rates and taxes, but I estimate it to be a $5000 cost to host a full-time intern for 3-months (Summer).
Who?: I envision this as being traditional and at an archives repository. The focus geared toward "new to the profession" people who have some education but need experience.
How Do We Choose?: In my mind, I think this may actually work better by having organizations apply for the funds (a grant) and then they oversee hiring and pay disbursement. This would allow NWA to vet the proposed projects and help to ensure that it's a good internship experience.
How Do We Fund It?: Rachael Cristine Consulting LLC (my business) can commit to funding an initial internship at $2000-$2500. In order to encourage institutions to build a path towards ethical internships and to help build a sustainable effort, I believe the participating institutions should also contribute (from their budget, donors, or a grant) and co-sponsor the internship. Also, I believe there are other financial avenues we can explore.
Why NWA?: The reason I think NWA could/should house the intern scholarship/grant is because: it's a nonprofit, it's more accessible/visible to organizations and interns, and it would demonstrate that organizations such as NWA (and SAA - I'm looking at you) can be part of the solution when it comes to unpaid internships.
What Will the Committee Do?: Right now I'm seeking members who can assist me with creating this new model. 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 my hope that we solidify the idea and process, and seek NWA Board approval by end of Summer 2019, promote & educate to solicit applications in Fall 2019, review applications in Winter 2020, and announce in time for the organization to put out a call to hire an intern in early-Spring 2020.
Is this a 1x or Ongoing?: I think we need to test it and see how we like it. It would be wonderful if it was ongoing, but I would like a test-run first.
Why is Rachael Cristine Consulting LLC Involved?: I personally feel very passionate about this issue and I want to be a part of the solution. While RCC will contribute funds, RCC will not monetarily benefit or use this opportunity. Rachael Woody (me) will serve on the exploratory committee and will voluntary assist with pursuing this idea.
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Rachael Cristine Consulting LLC