Painting company’s internships questioned

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A series of miscommunications culminated last week with several students receiving emails warning  that representatives from a business offering internships not endorsed by BYU may be approaching students on campus.

The email, which went out to students on Nov. 7, stated that representatives from College Works Painting had come to campus without university permission and were falsely advertising internships that could count as college credit. Kevin Grow, a district manager with College Works, which recruits interns on campus, said his company has hired interns from BYU for the last five to six years but he didn’t realize he needed to be approved to be on campus.

“I take responsibility for that, and I don’t want the company to be called a scam because of my actions,” Grow said. “We’re definitely willing to work with BYU in anything that we have to.”

The unauthorized presence of College Works Painting was reported to University Police, but as the representatives left after being approached, no laws were broken, according to Lt. Arnold Lemmon.

The rest of the problem seemed to stem from two entities’ differing definitions of the word “internship.” College Works Painting routinely hires college interns and places them with a mentor who helps the students manage a branch of College Works as though it were a small painting business. Interns must solicit their own work from homeowners, manage income and expenses and delegate responsibilities to employees. At the end of the experience, interns receive a cut of their branch’s overall profit as compensation. This process, according to Gavin Lantzy, vice president of the Utah and Idaho divisions of College Works, teaches students the fundamentals of running a business.

“Our goal is to help students find and further their potential,” Lantzy said.

While some colleges do give students credit for working with College Works, Lantzy said the internship program has never been affiliated with BYU, and therefore credit is not automatically awarded to BYU students who work with the company. The company never advertised that students were guaranteed credit at BYU, Lantzy said, as securing college credit for the internship is the student’s responsibility.

On the other hand, according to BYU’s pro-grand internship coordinator Adrienne Chamberlain, internships granted credit at BYU must be academically rigorous, and must be associated with a class that will assign participating students to a mentor who can help guide them through the experience. College Works’ internships do not fulfill the requirements, so they have not been approved by the university, Chamberlain said.

If students wish to avoid such internships, Chamberlain said prospective interns should take the proper steps to determine if the internship is approved by the university.

“If a student wants to earn credit, the first step is for them to visit their department’s internship coordinator,” she said.

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