WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), along with 37 of his colleagues, sent Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh a letter regarding oversight of the internship economy. The letter urges the Department of Labor to create reporting requirements for unpaid internships so the Bureau of Labor Statistics can track this data and provide appropriate oversight.

“Internships are viewed as a necessity towards career advancement and without federal data on unpaid internships, the risk of upholding and exacerbating inequity increases,” the Members wrote.

In their letter, the Members also outlined four points that they say would go a long way in addressing some of the critical challenges currently facing young workers across the nation, including pay and workplace rights and protections.

“Internships are increasingly important in today’s economy, making it difficult to enter the workforce for those who cannot afford to work on an unpaid basis. Gaining experience simply isn’t enough, and getting ‘paid’ in experience is unacceptable,” said Representative Adam Smith (WA-09). “I have long advocated for intern pay in Congressional offices and successfully led efforts to increase funding for offices to pay interns. These paid internships help ensure that young workers from all backgrounds – not just those who can afford it – have the chance to learn and gain valuable experience while bringing diversity of ideas and background to their offices. If we are to increase accessibility to paid internships, it is critical we have accurate data to provide appropriate oversight of the internship economy. This is just one of many steps to help build a more equitable, sustainable economy.”

A full copy of the letter can be found here.