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Not Just In The Movies: Older Workers Intern At Bay Area Firms

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Actors Owen Wilson (L) and Vince Vaughn are seen at 'The Internship' Googler Premiere on May 30, 2013 in San Francisco. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images for 20th Century Fox)

Actors Owen Wilson (L) and Vince Vaughn are seen at ‘The Internship’ Googler Premiere on May 30, 2013 in San Francisco. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images for 20th Century Fox)

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MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) — A new movie in theaters features a popular comedy duo playing 40-somethings vying for internships at Google. The storyline isn’t unique to Hollywood; there are a growing number of older adults competing with a younger crowd for internships.

“The Internship,” starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, is a story where two unemployed middle-aged salesman join the internet giant’s summer internship program. It is a phenomenon also playing out in real life.

“Internships used to be something that was kind of like oh it’s just students are doing this, but now it’s really clear that we need to be able to adapt to a workforce that is jumping between industries,” said Andrew Maquire, CEO of InternMatch.com. “We have over 250 new companies signing up every week, and that’s anything from a small business to a nonprofit to a startup to a Fortune 500 company.”

Maquire said age doesn’t matter to companies that need help or that want to groom future fulltime employees.

James Parsons, a retired grocery store manager, is among those who took advantage of an internship. Now at age 82, he is the production supervisor for Pacific Coast TV, teaching a lighting class to a new set of interns.

“Age is a state of mind. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter,” Parsons said, laughing.

These days, the station is being inundated by internship requests from college students and an increasing number of mid-career professionals who need digital media experience and have no shame in taking an unpaid internship.

“They don’t feel like they’ve got all the time in the world. It’s fairly clear when you watch them go about doing what they are doing. They are not playing around, they are serious,” said Marty Anaya of Pacific Coast TV.

Parsons said, “I just enjoy everything I’m doing because every day I go out that door I’ve learned something.” And it’s even better now that he makes a paycheck.

Internships can be tricky for those out of school. Applicants usually need to earn credits, which can be obtained from a community college.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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