Carlos Mark Vera

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Carlos Mark Vera

2019 Global Fellow
Founder of Pay Our Interns

Carlos Mark Vera 2019 Global Fellow

Bold Idea 

Create a pathway to public service for underrrepresented communities in the United States by advocating for funding from federal, state, and local governments for paid internships.


NBC Anchor Lena Hernandez interviews Carlos Vera around Pay Our Interns and how this issue impacts the Latino community in the United States. Photo credit: Comcast Network

Carlos Vera addresses the crowd at the 1 year anniversary of the organization. Photo credit: Yash Mori

Pay Our Interns honored Senator Brian Schatz and his staff (Andrew Winer-Chief of Staff and Arun Revana-Legislative Director) for successfully getting the Senate to pass $5 million for intern compensation during their 2 year anniversary event. Photo credit: Gabriel Bremer

Pay Our Interns addresses the inequity of unpaid internships through advocacy, research, and lifting up the stories of interns. Paid internships are the best mechanism to ensure equality of access for young people of color and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Internships should be publicly funded; in 2018, Pay Our Interns pushed Congress to appropriate $14 million for intern pay, and the organization is now connecting young people with the resulting paid internship opportunities. Pay Our Interns also provides tools for organizations to operationalize paid internship programs, with the goal of paid internships in every city and state government in the country.


Carlos Mark Vera is the co-founder of Pay Our Interns, ground zero for the paid internship movement in the United States. As a formerly unpaid intern in the White House and Congress, he knows firsthand the struggle of interning for free. His passion stems from the belief that we come up with better policies when we have a government that is more reflective of our communities. Prior to Pay Our Interns, Carlos worked at Megaphone Strategies. As a student at American University, Carlos founded Justice for AU Workers, a student-led labor organization that advocates for service workers of color. His fight for justice led to the creation of a full-ride scholarship program for the children of contracted workers. Carlos’s efforts on Capitol Hill led him to be named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree, a Top 20 Changemaker by NBC Latino, and an Aspen Ideas Fellow. He has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, and The Atlantic. Carlos also proudly serves in the Army Reserves as a mechanic. Carlos is a 2019 Echoing Green Fellow.

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