3 ways to solve the free intern debacle

My initial reaction to the April 2 New York Times piece "The Unpaid Intern, Illegal or Not" was one of confusion. I have done a number of unpaid internships, and never in my right mind believed them to be illegal -- even if at the time I was doing menial tasks.

Isn't that the point? To teach you to be a drone, and follow orders without question? You are just one cog in a machine, and you must perform well so that the machine you are in can perform well. If you don't like the machine you're in, then get out of that career.

That's not to say I advocate businesses (and interns) breaking the law. Far from it. What makes sense to me is a system that allows students to get the crucial experience they need, while allowing businesses that accommodate these pre-entry level workers some sort of benefit for the training and opportunities they provide.