It's a new job world out there: Now parents pay so kids can work

February 2, 2009

Ed. Note- Our Business Desk is working on a new series called "Hard Working." For more information, visit the series page. This post originally appeared on the Hard Working blog. If you have a story about your job or job search, send it to hardworking@chicagopublicradio.org or @adrienehill on Twitter. As millions of Americans languish in unemployment lines and pray they'll see a paycheck soon, others are spending money to secure positions that don't pay at all. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, a growing number of parents are paying consultants to find their college-aged and post-graduate children low- or non-paying internships, or are outright purchasing internships through online charity auctions. These parents argue that, with the job market seizing up, there's no better way to get a foot in the door and their child on the fast track to future gainful employment. Now, if you're imagining this is a trend reserved for the East Coast's upper echelons -- think again. Brill Street & Co., based in Chicago, "places students only in paid positions and derives its profit by taking a percentage of their paychecks," WSJ reports. Brill thinks of its staff as "talent-agents" who guide their young clients through resume preparation, cover-letter writing and the job search. Considering the economic climate, it comes as no surprise that the number of the firm's applicants have doubled in the past year, averaging 150 a week. And Brill is not alone. Many consultancies, from online start-ups to national conglomerates, are capitalizing on the relentless ambition of the affluent young and the deep pockets of their parents. Some charge hundreds of dollars to take on clients and help them get the internships they want. Would you be willing to pay to help your child get an internship? Leave your comments on the original post.
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