Blog: “STEP-UP made my future so easy”
09.17.2012 | Posted by Amy Shapiro, STEP-UP Achieve Program Associate
It’s hard to believe another summer of STEP-UP Achieve internships has come and gone! 750 Minneapolis youth worked in a wide variety of great jobs this summer, ranging from radio announcers to medical clinic assistants and high-tech project managers.
Now that our staff has a moment to breathe, it’s a great time to reflect on all that was accomplished this summer. As a STEP-UP Achieve job coach, I love getting emails from interns, parents and supervisors sharing what their experiences have meant to them how the program has changed their lives.
“Honestly, how many students can say they have interned for two fortune 500 companies and with some of the very best professionals in the business?” says STEP-UP Achieve alum Matthew, who interned at Cargill and Thrivent Financial and is starting studies at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. “I loved the experience, the network, and most of all, the bigger picture. I feel that when I can see the end results it gives me hope, motivation and the ability to foreshadow the future.”
Just as interns are sad to see their summer jobs end, so are their supervisors. “Our intern helped us so much this summer!” says Raina at Illusion Theater. “She has perspective beyond her age. She was delightful and grew into a proactive part of our staff. She learned new skills and contributed to our work. She helped us through a crazy summer and was a joy to have in the office. I miss her daily presence already.”
The mentoring that STEP-UP Achieve interns receive can have a big impact in their lives. “My supervisor showed that she was interested in helping me accomplish my goals,” says one intern. “She always gave me space to try to solve problems by myself.”
STEP-UP Achieve interns returned to school this fall with 8-10 weeks of high-quality work experience under their belts. They learned how to accept feedback, how to manage projects, the importance of networking and clear communication, and how to ask for help. They now have a much clearer picture of their likes and dislikes, their personal strengths and career aspirations.
“I’m always happy to say I was a part of the STEP-UP Achieve summer jobs program,” says STEP-UP Achieve alum Eric. “You have given me plenty of work experience throughout these past three years. Now I am ready to venture off to college and hopefully land another job on my own. All thanks to STEP-UP Achieve and your trainings! STEP-UP Achieve rocks!”
When asked what they think is the most valuable aspect of their STEP-UP Achieve experience, interns’ responses vary greatly. One intern said that his internship made him realize that making $200 takes a lot of time and effort! Another wrote that the most important thing he learned was how to function in a professional environment after high school. “It taught me that motivation is the key to success, and that it is important to take every opportunity that I can to help with networking and narrowing down my interests.” Yet another said that STEP-UP Achieve “definitely helped prepare me not just for the workforce in the real world but also helped me prepare for college. It helped me have a vision of what I want to major in college.” And one thanked STEP-UP Achieve “for making me diligent. STEP-UP Achieve made my future so easy.”
To the 750 amazing interns who worked in STEP-UP Achieve jobs this summer, may your future always seem easy, and may you always find those around you to help you!