Interns at Miami International Airport won’t need to worry about ramen lunches or scrounging loose change for coffee runs: An exclusive new internship program there with a pay range that tops out at $72,000.
Open to three college graduates, the program offers participants a chance “to obtain experience and engage in the day-to-day operations in the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.” It is budgeted at $218,000, or $72,666 a year.
A department spokesman said the actual pay range for each 12-month internship starts at $42,000, with $72,000 being the ceiling.
“To be clear, this amount is a budgetary placeholder until the position, title and pay range are established through our Compensation division,” spokesman John Heffernan said. “It’s probable that the final figure will be lower than the budgeted figure.”
Heffernan said the goal is to give college graduates professional administrative experience at Aviation, a department dominated by MIA but which includes smaller county airports.
If MIA interns ended up collecting above $70,000, they’d be doing well on the apprentice circuit. A 2014 glassdoor.com survey of the best-paid internships found Google paid its average intern $5,969 a month — about $71,700 a year.
In 2014, the average Aviation employee earned $64,000, according to a Dade Data analysis of county payroll records. Across the county bureaucracy, the average pay last year was about $65,000.
The internship program was mentioned deep in Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s proposed 2016 budget. While an arm of county government, MIA pays expenses through airline fees, concession rent and other airport revenue. Miami-Dade taxpayers back some MIA debt, but the aviation division does not use general-fund dollars (such as property and sales taxes) to cover expenses.
When Gimenez launched an internship program in his office three years ago, the positions were unpaid, according to the county’s Human Resources department. Heffernan, the Aviation spokesman, said this is MIA’s first paid internship program. He said it will advertise for applicants once the program is formally launched.