Seldom are there opportunities for high school students to connect the academic concepts they are learning in the classroom to the real world. As a result, too many students are graduating unprepared for the future — whether that’s enrolling in college or entering the workforce. In fact, a survey found just 46 percent of high school students say their schools have helped them figure out which careers match their interests and abilities.

Although internships are on the rise in many high schools across America, most of these opportunities are unpaid.

That’s a clear disadvantage for students who need the meaningful work experience that internships provide but do not have the luxury of being able to work for free.

As a result, students from low-income backgrounds are often shut out of quality internships, resulting in another obstacle in their path that their wealthier peers don’t have to face.

An internship divide has emerged between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Fortunately, there is a straightforward solution.

Compensating high school interns allows them to fully engage in a valuable workplace learning experience while meeting their basic financial needs.

Read the full article on paid internships by Kelli Hillestad at The 74.