Hiring Interns in the Construction Industry

  • Editorial Team
  • Heavy Construction Equipment
  • 19 October 2023

Internships provide future construction workers with practical experience in the industry while also securing workers for businesses that are already experiencing a labor shortage. However, hiring interns comes with legal obligations that construction companies should really be aware of. 

If you hire interns, you don’t have to pay them but you should also not make any monetary promises for the future. Be very transparent and if you are going to pay your interns, find out about the hourly wage for interns in your state. The average hourly wage for construction interns is approximately $19, varying by state. Locations with a higher cost of living, such as California and Washington, D.C., may offer higher wages.

Building the Future Workforce

With the average age in construction being 43, there is a need to introduce younger individuals to the industry. Internships provide a great platform for younger generations to experience the industry firsthand, potentially encouraging them to actually pursue construction careers.

Laws Governing Interns

It is also important to differentiate between employees, volunteers, and the students from the interns. Interns are not classified as independent contractors or employees. While interns are not entitled to employment benefits, employers are responsible for their well-being during the internship, particularly if an injury occurs on company premises.

Educational Internships vs Employer Managed Internships

Internships can be established either through educational institutions or internally within a company. When collaborating with schools, internships must align with educational requirements, involving reporting and academic credit considerations. Graduates with internship experience tend to earn higher incomes, emphasizing the benefits of these educational internships.

Employers managing internal internships need to make sure that the intern’s learning and work hours are balanced. Compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is very important, with the “principal beneficiary test” determining who benefits more from the internship. If the employer is deemed the primary beneficiary, the intern is legally an employee and entitled to benefits and compensation.