Last year, an emotionally charged conversation on Twitter sparked after sports journalist Jane Slater posted an internship opportunity, encouraging interested candidates to apply. The issue? It was unpaid.
For years, there have been staunch opinions both in favor and against unpaid internships with detractors saying it’s a form of exploitation and proponents pointing out that unpaid internships can afford students a great opportunity to make early in-roads towards professional success. Either way, unpaid jobs can be extremely challenging to maintain with ballooning living costs and stagnant wages. With summer internship deadlines lingering over students’ heads, they are left grappling with how to maintain a great unpaid opportunity, all while making ends meet.
Next of Us doesn’t want them to have to choose.
The Gen Z hair care brand and D.C.-based nonprofit, Pay Our Interns partnered to create the “Next of Us Intern Opportunity Fund, an initiative that will award $50,000 in need-based stipends to help Gen Z BIPOC and working-class college students overcome financial hurdles that often create barriers to career advancement.
“NOU believes in the power of the next generation to make the world better for themselves and generations to come,” said Lela Coffey, Vice President, Multicultural Hair Brands and North America Hair Care Portfolio, P&G Beauty in a news release. “We are proud to partner with Pay Our Interns to establish a program that tangibly serves the unique needs of Gen Z communities of color, helping to make their hair and life journey a more fulfilling experience.”
Pay Our Interns, an organization that says they work to create pay equity for students are using the initiative to ensure interns not only achieve career advancement without sacrificing life essentials they wouldn’t be able to afford.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Next of Us on the Intern Opportunity Fund,” said Carlos Mark Vera, Executive Director of Pay Our Interns in a news release. “NOU’s mission to support Gen Z and ensure equity and representation in hair care aligns closely with our ongoing work to increase diversity in our overall workforce. The idea that we can all strive to be our best when we have the tools to do so, is something both POI and NOU believe in strongly, and something we believe this fund will help our applicants do.”