May 30, 2024

Elon Musk’s drive to slash costs at Tesla is hitting almost every corner of the company, from senior-level executives to summer interns just weeks away from employment.

Joshua Schreiber, a student at Miami University, was set to start his summer internship with Tesla in just three weeks and said he already spent thousands of dollars on housing. Now, he’s looking for a new gig.

“At 8:46am, I opened a Tesla email for flight info,” he wrote on LinkedIn on Wednesday, in a post first reported by Bloomberg. “By 11:25am, my internship offer was gone.”

The unexpected cancellation comes at a rough time for college students looking for summer jobs to occupy their time, make some cash — if they’re paid programs — and get valuable experience. Most universities are wrapping up the spring semester and many applications across fields have already closed, making nabbing a new job difficult.

Tesla’s decision to rescind summer internships has affected students looking to learn and work with teams across the company, from megapack production and human resources to corporate sustainability. Diana Rosenberg, who works in battery supply at Tesla, asked her LinkedIn network to help one intern-to-be find a new summer position to support their career.

“Please make our loss your gain!” Rosenberg wrote.

Musk on April 15 announced that Tesla would move to cut “more than 10%” of the company’s 140,000 people global employees, including its marketing team, as part of cost-cutting measures. Musk had reportedly pushed to lay off about 20% of the company — an amount, he reasoned, that would match Tesla’s sales decline between the fourth quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.

“As we prepare the company for our next phase of growth, it is extremely important to look at every aspect of the company for cost reductions and increasing productivity,” Musk told workers in a memo last month, before announcing the imminent layoffs. “There is nothing I hate more, but it must be done.”

It’s unclear how much money Tesla will save from revoking intern offers, but it’s unlikely to be a lot. Some internships are for unpaid positions, while paid interns usually make $18 to $28 per hour, according to Glassdoor. Over 3,000 students are hired for internship and apprenticeships each year, according to Tesla’s 2022 impact report.

Earlier this week, Tesla laid off the majority of its 500-person Supercharger division. Rebecca Tinucci, a six-year veteran of the company overseeing the division, has also left Tesla. At least five other high-profile executives have either already resigned or plan to later this year, including Tesla leaders overseeing investor relations, human resources, and public policy.

Behind all of these cuts is Musk’s move into “wartime” CEO mode to reassure investors skeptical of his promises and Tesla’s Full Self-Driving technology. Also on the table is Musk’s $47 billion pay package, which will be voted on by shareholders over the summer. Several stockholders, including Tesla’s biggest retail shareholder, have expressed their opposition to reapproving the package, which was struck down by a judge in Delaware earlier this year.

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