STEP-UP youth employment program gives kids a step up


The City of Minneapolis youth employment program STEP-UP is accepting applications for 2018 summer internship placements. Eligible Minneapolis youth ages 14-21 who are interested in participating in the 2018 STEP-UP class have until February 16 to complete an application online.

STEP-UP is one of the country’s premier youth employment programs, serving Minneapolis youth who face some of the greatest barriers to employment. Since the program was launched, it has provided over 27,000 internship opportunities. In addition to  summer jobs with more than 220 top Twin Cities companies, nonprofits and public agencies, STEP-UP offers work-readiness training, mock interviews, advanced-level internships and industry-specific career opportunities that help interns integrate their career exposure with post-secondary education and career planning.

“STEP-UP taught me how to participate in a professional work environment. I learned small skills throughout my internship, such as how to write emails in an appropriate and professional manner and how to manage time and complete tasks on my own. My internship made me feel more confident to apply for college and future jobs,” said Esanda, a STEP-UP intern at Artspace.

Prior to being placed in their internships, youth receive work-readiness training certified by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce that prepares them for a professional work environment. Returning interns receive advanced training that helps them deepen their professional skills. Throughout their internship, they gain valuable on-the job skills, make strong professional connections, and become exposed to careers they may have not otherwise accessed without STEP-UP.

“STEP-UP gave me the experience of what it is like working in a hospital. I saw the daily routines of hospital personnel in my clinic and got a feeling for what it’s like working a real job, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.,” said Syvie, a STEP-UP intern at Hennepin County Medical Center.

“Our managers who work directly with STEP-UP interns are the luckiest people in the bank,” says Jennie Carlson, Executive Vice President for Human Resources at U.S. Bancorp. “They love their work with the interns and they learn a lot from them in terms of intergenerational and multicultural viewpoints. They also get to serve as mentors and role models for their interns, and they get to be reverse mentored in many ways, too. So it’s a win-win for us, and our managers absolutely love doing it.” U.S. Bank has participated in STEP-UP since it was founded in 2004, and has hired 398 interns, more than any other private sector employer.

In 2017, STEP-UP placed more than 1,600 Minneapolis youth in jobs with over 220 businesses, public agencies and nonprofits. Youth represented in the 2017 class were 91 percent youth of color, 51 percent youth from recent immigrant families, and 17 percent youth with disabilities or other significant barriers to employment. Twenty-three percent spoke fluently in a language in addition to English, representing 32 different languages from 35 different countries.

Businesses, public agencies and nonprofits interested in employing interns in 2018 can find information on the City of Minneapolis STEP-UP website.

STEP-UP is a City of Minneapolis program in partnership with AchieveMpls. Other major partners include the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and Project for Pride in Living.

To learn more about STEP-UP and get an application visit or You can also follow STEP-UP on Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat @STEPUPMpls or like them on Facebook or join the conversation at #STEPUPMpls.