Many unpaid internships happening today are illegal, and we are against many of these relationships. Working 40 hours a week doing social media marketing and writing articles to benefit a for-profit publication in New York City with no mentorship is a reality for many students trying to break into the job market today. These students lose money on internships like this due to the daily commute and learn very little during the internship due to the lack of mentorship, and may only leave with a line on their resume. With no oversight, mentorship, guidance, standardization, or flexibility to these apprenticeships, they can be exploitative. This is not the type of platform we have set out to build.

Even more upsetting is that the student presented above is one of the lucky ones because they were able to get an internship. The system that exists today makes it very difficult for anyone outside of higher-income households to take on an unpaid opportunity. Acadium is a free, remote, and structured apprenticeship that has given thousands of students practical experience while they are working another job or while in school.

We coach, vet, and urge employers to remember the reason they are bringing someone into their business. Acadium is built to train the workforce while connecting businesses with talent at an affordable cost.

Below is an overview of the seven criteria outlined by the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division to determine if a task is qualified to be an apprenticeship. Below each point is an overview of how our marketplace helps enforce and encourage these rules while two people are in an apprenticeship.

  1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee—and vice versa.
    •  For employers, we coach, vet, and urge them to remember the reason they are bringing someone into their business. Acadium is built to train and inspire a young new workforce and provide tools that business owners were missing when they started their careers. Both parties are prepared for the relationship by understanding the agreement for compensation outlined in the contract signed by both the business and the student before the apprenticeship commences.
  2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
    • Apprenticeships always include an on-the-job training component. Apprentices receive hands-on training from an experienced mentor. On-the-job training focuses on the skills and knowledge an apprentice must learn during the program to be fully proficient on the job. We have acquired a co-browsing tool to make remote on the job training easier and accessible to any student with an internet connection. We believe that these digital apprenticeships open doors, and we have spent many of our resources working towards better tools that make it feel like both people are in the same room.
  3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
    • One of the unique aspects of apprenticeships is that they combine on-the-job learning with detailed instruction on the technical and academic competencies that apply to the job. We give every student who joins Acadium free courses in over 12 different subjects. They can use these courses to enhance their apprenticeship and round their knowledge.
  4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
    • Acadium apprenticeships are completely flexible to work around the apprentices academic calendar. As a remote-first apprenticeship, work can be done at any time from anywhere. Additionally, students are limited to only working 10 hours a week on the apprenticeship to avoid academic conflict. Lastly, the apprenticeships can be started whenever the student and the business are ready to commit to the apprenticeship. This flexibility is beneficial for the student as they don’t have to follow a set schedule that conflicts with other priorities.
  5. The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
    • The apprenticeship is a three-month term outlined by the labour contract before the apprenticeship begins. Our platform is built to restrict relationships longer than three months and does not allow both parties to communicate after the apprenticeship is completed without hiring the apprenticeship on a full-time basis. Apprentices also receive a dedicated Apprenticeship Advisor when they begin work, and receive help with any problems they experience immediately. Traditional internship programs don’t support the student with an external standard, which lets the employer take advantage of the intern. Acadium apprenticeships are structured with no more than 10 hours a week for three months to make sure that students are not exploited.
  6. The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
    • Employers are the foundation of every apprenticeship program. They play an active role in building the program and remain involved in every step of the way. We only allow mentors who are willing to give apprentices time through mentorship, to join the marketplace. Any business owner who is not ready to treat the apprenticeship correctly is turned away from the market.
  7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.
    • Acadium has worked with legal counsel to make sure that the employment contract signed for the duration of the apprenticeship is favorable to the student and outlines that no apprenticeship guarantees a full-time work placement. We also monitor our platform to make sure that communication about guaranteeing paid work is monitored by our customer support team. Lastly, we provide students with the ability to cancel the apprenticeship if they are not receiving the benefits that they signed up to receive.