Saturday, April 4, 2009


At Central Dallas Community Development Corporation, we’ve always depended on interns for a good portion of our work. Sometimes they are paid; sometimes unpaid; and with a wide range of experience and knowledge. Since, like most nonprofits, we operate on a shoestring, interns provide a source of cheap labor to let us get more done.

Most of the time we have had good experiences with our interns. They work hard and let us get more accomplished then we could otherwise. A few have been absolutely brilliant—the type of people that only lack experience before they will be amazing contributors to society. Of course, a few have been disappointments as well.

But I have never seen anything like the applications I have gotten this year. I have an M.B.A., architects, a lawyer, law students, a couple of people with masters degrees and, for the first time ever, someone with a doctorate in a related field! Each of these candidates has an impressive resume and can write well enough, at least, to submit an acceptable letter. All of these applicants for the one position I have open this summer, and no guaranty that the positions will pay. I’d like to have more people, but we’re so crowded I wouldn’t even have a chair in which

I hope to go through them all this weekend and make a choice quickly, but I am somewhat baffled by the strength and number of applications and by how to weigh such different credentials against one another. Baffled enough that I’ve been slower to act than I should be, and if any of the interns who have contacted me are reading this, please accept my apology.

The applications do make two points to me. First, the job market must be very bad. Second, a lot of people would like to do community development work, if only there were a way for them to make some kind of living doing it.

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