Community Partner Memorandum of Understanding

The University of Kentucky invites community organizations and agencies to partner with the UK community by actively engaging students. When UK volunteers or paid interns are placed with a community partner, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) should be created or reviewed (and updated if necessary). The MOU clarifies the roles of the University, the faculty mentor, the Stuckert Career Center, the community partner, and the student in this community-based or service-learning experience. It is in the best interest of all organizations planning to offer paid internships to be informed of all applicable federal and state legal requirements.

The signed MOUs currently on file for community partnerships can be found here.

If no MOU exists for your community partner, please download the template MOU here and discuss the stated responsibilities with your community partner. Then send your recommended revisions to Todd Stoltzfus , Program Director for Civic Engagement, for archiving after it has been signed.

Some main topics to consider when discussing the respective responsibilities for onsite learning experiences:

Paid or unpaid work?

It is strongly preferred that organizations pay UK students for work performed. However, if your community partner is unable to offer a paid internship, they could consider helping the student with a stipend or expenses related to their internship such as transportation costs, meals, uniforms, etc. To be considered a paid internship, a stipend or scholarship in lieu of payment must be the equivalent of minimum hourly wage. If the scholarship or stipend does not meet this minimum requirement the internship is considered unpaid. The U.S. Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies primarily to for-profit, private sector internships and training programs that are unpaid. Unpaid internships (even at for-profit private sector organizations) will not violate the Fair Labor Standards Act if it is a training program which meets the following criteria:

  • The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  • The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  • The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  • The community partner that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  • The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  • The community partner and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

NOTE: A student may not waive his or her rights under the FLSA by agreeing to work without compensation.

Resources Required in the Job

UK students must be supervised by an industry professional at the community partner's site. An internship cannot require or depend on the use of an intern's personal equipment or software (i.e. sewing machines, Adobe Creative Suite, laptop, UK facilities, etc.).

Student's Intellectual Property

Community partners should be considerate of UK students' intellectual property rights. The University discourages the commercial use of students' work without the transfer of rights and remuneration.

Discrimination, Liability and Risk Management

Paid interns (meeting the minimum wage compensation for the state) are considered employees for purposes of federal discrimination laws. A community partner should assume that its paid interns are employees and comply with applicable discrimination statutes. It is sound practice to ensure that all UK students in community-based learning experiences, paid or unpaid, are treated fairly and in accordance with local, state and federal discrimination laws. The University of Kentucky's Office of Risk Management is the go-to office if any lawsuit is threatened or an event causes or contributes to injury or death.