FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Tuesday, October 19th

Contact: Jess Huang,, ‪(949) 438-3563‬

Pay Our Interns Launching New Push for Paid Internships to Be Included in Upcoming Federal Budget and Advance Goal of Attracting Talent to Public Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Pay Our Interns (POI) announced a major new push for paid federal internships to be included in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2022 federal budget. The effort is supported by Schmidt Futures as part of its broader work to bet early on exceptional people serving the public by working on hard problems in science and society.  

Presently, federal agencies are not required to pay interns, which narrows who considers these stepping stone opportunities. POI has worked closely with Congress and agencies over the past year to identify opportunities to push for paid internships. This has included developing legislation to pay for U.S. Department of State internship programming and securing funding requests for congressional committee and White House internships in the FY22 appropriations budget. As federal budget negotiations on Capitol Hill continue, POI will work with congressional offices and agency liaisons to advocate for funding. Additionally, POI will use its platforms for advocacy by spotlighting the stories of unpaid interns, placing op-eds on the internship economy, and working with media to amplify these efforts.  

“We would like to thank Schmidt Futures for championing our ongoing work in addressing the equity challenges of the internship economy,” said Carlos Mark Vera, the executive director of Pay Our Interns. “Their generous support will expand our outreach and research capabilities during this timely, critical push to ensure new funding opportunities will be included for federal interns in the federal budget. This allows us to directly build on our previous work of securing funding for Capitol Hill interns and opens more opportunities for young, diverse voices.” 

The gift for POI’s work came from the Schwab Charitable Fund by recommendation of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt that bets early on exceptional people making the world better. In December 2020, Schmidt Futures CEO Eric Braverman co-authored an op-ed calling on the federal government to provide 1 million college students with a paid government internship, in addition to the opportunity to compete for a college scholarship in exchange for their service. This gift is part of that commitment to encourage exceptional talent to work in government and continue serving others. 

“We must reinvigorate government by finding and investing in young talent committed to serving others,” said Eric Braverman, CEO of Schmidt Futures. “Pay Our Interns’ work is critical to that effort by providing students access to paid internship opportunities that make it possible for more exceptional young people to work in public service early in their careers. If we want to solve our world’s greatest challenges, we must commit to investing in the leaders and innovators of tomorrow, today.” 

Since the founding of Pay Our Interns in 2016, POI has successfully worked with Congress to allocate funds towards paid internships on the Hill, helping to secure over $48 million to date.  

In 2021, Carlos Mark Vera, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Pay Our Interns, testified before the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress on access to equitable internships. His testimony included further contextualization on broadening intern recruitment, improving access to internships, expanding remote internship opportunities and providing intern housing.

Sign up here to join the fight against unpaid internships. 


Pay Our Interns was founded in 2016 by two former unpaid interns of color. It is the nation’s leading organization fighting to ensure all students have equitable access to professional career paths through the implementation of paid internships countrywide—especially students from historically excluded communities. 

Pay Our Interns seeks to ensure individuals from all backgrounds are represented across industries impacting their communities and develop pathways for advancement. In doing so, POI creates a more equitable workforce, more diverse leadership, and a more just world.  POI is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

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