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DHS Turns To Unpaid Interns For Nation's Cyber Security 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the probably-still-an-upgrade dept.
theodp writes "A week after President Obama stressed the importance of computer science to America, the Department of Homeland Security put out a call for 100+ of the nations' best-and-brightest college students to work for nothing on the nation's cyber security. The unpaid internship program, DHS notes, is the realization of recommendations (PDF) from the Homeland Security Advisory Council's Task Force on CyberSkills, which included execs from Facebook, Lockheed Martin, and Sony, and was advised by representatives from Cisco, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Northrop Grumman, the NSF, and the NSA. 'Do you desire to protect American interests and secure our Nation while building a meaningful and rewarding career?' reads the job posting for Secretary's Honors Program Cyber Student Volunteers (salary: $0.00-$0.00). 'If so, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is calling.' Student volunteers, DHS adds, will begin in spring 2014 and participate throughout the summer. Get your applications in by January 3, kids!"
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DHS Turns To Unpaid Interns For Nation's Cyber Security

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  • by phoenix03 (3348193) on Friday December 20, 2013 @02:16PM (#45747515)
    "...100+ of the nations' best-and-brightest college students.."
    "..to work for nothing"

    Boy. Can't imagine how they could say no to that.

  • Evil Plot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Friday December 20, 2013 @02:17PM (#45747535)
    Sometimes I wonder if unpaid internships are just part of a sinister plot to keep the class divide as large as possible. In college I knew lots of really bright people who had to skip internships because they had to do things like work so they could pay for school and, well, eat.

    I know that they are not intended that way, but it is one of the side issues with the 'internship' culture, they tend to be a step based off how much cash you have that can have major effects on your long term career options.
  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Friday December 20, 2013 @02:17PM (#45747539)

    Thought that was exploitive and slave like to use unpaid interns.

  • Also relevants... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phoenix03 (3348193) on Friday December 20, 2013 @02:26PM (#45747633)
    This position requires a Security Clearance of SECRET. SO, let me get this straight. Unpaid, FULL TIME, college age, best and brightest... with access to secret level items...

    Nevermind. This is a great idea. What could possibly go wrong?
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday December 20, 2013 @02:39PM (#45747775) Homepage

    DHS is clustered heavily in DC and the areas immediately outside of DC within the beltway. The cost of moving to this area just to work could easily add $10k-$12k in debt or lost savings for just a single summer. This is simply not an internship that makes sense for any student who comes from a family lacking real wealth.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday December 20, 2013 @02:56PM (#45747961)

    Exactly. What they're demonstrating here is the difference between saying "We're serious about fixing the problem" and "We're serious about fixing the problem and have allocated resources to demonstrate that". Promises of changes like these are worthless unless they're backed up with a budget, personnel, or infrastructure.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday December 20, 2013 @02:58PM (#45747989)

    "...100+ of the nations' best-and-brightest college students.."
    "..to work for nothing"

    Boy. Can't imagine how they could say no to that.

    They are college students. They get course credit for things like this, each quarter/semester is the equivalent of an elective class. That has a monetary value.

    Plus a key to getting hired is to have something on your resume other than your degree and its assigned coursework/projects. So it has monetary value in that regard too. Its not terribly different than voluntarily contributing to a FOSS project, well other than HR departments probably consider DHS experience and references more valuable.

    Thirdly, if you want to work for DHS this gets your foot in the door. In governmental bureaucracies like this knowing someone inside and/or having an insider reference is quite valuable. Works in corporations too. I think the newly announced General Motors CEO started at GM as an intern when she was in college.

    That said, I am not against paid internships. I am merely pointing out that as a student even an unpaid internship can have a value.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday December 20, 2013 @03:13PM (#45748123)

    Why in the hell would you have a limited time internship that requires a secret level clearance that will probably take the UNPAID intern months to get? Seems like a ton of hassle for very little reward.

    Because it gets you that security clearance before graduation. When you and your peers begin applying for jobs after graduation you have an advantage, you already have security clearance.

  • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Friday December 20, 2013 @03:16PM (#45748159)

    "which included execs from Facebook, Lockheed Martin, and Sony, and was advised by representatives from Cisco, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Northrop Grumman, the NSF, and the NSA."

    Aren't these chuckleheads a good representation of all that is evil and corrupt and driving Team USA into the ground?

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday December 20, 2013 @03:17PM (#45748169)

    Didn't they just recently pass laws/regulations pretty much banning unpaid internship for most private businesses???

    Since when does government have to live by the rules it imposes on individuals and business? Exempting itself is a common practice.

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