Fort Myers resident Erin Cook, 26, worked 8-hour days as an unpaid intern at a medical company as a requirement of her 49-week clinical laboratory science certificate at Florida Gulf Coast University. Cook said the internship experience was rewarding, but said she and her fellow interns were needed to complete work quotas at a time when the company was laying off employees. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers using unpaid interns should derive no immediate benefit from those interns, and the interns should not take the place of regular employees. David Albers/Staff

Photo by DAVID ALBERS

Fort Myers resident Erin Cook, 26, worked 8-hour days as an unpaid intern at a medical company as a requirement of her 49-week clinical laboratory science certificate at Florida Gulf Coast University. Cook said the internship experience was rewarding, but said she and her fellow interns were needed to complete work quotas at a time when the company was laying off employees. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers using unpaid interns should derive no immediate benefit from those interns, and the interns should not take the place of regular employees. David Albers/Staff

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