STEP-UP Achieve Blog: Notes from a Job Coach
07.17.2012 | Posted by by Amy Shapiro, STEP-UP Achieve Program Associate
Looking at the sheer numbers can be pretty powerful. This summer over 750 Minneapolis youth are working in STEP-UP Achieve summer jobs at businesses, government agencies and nonprofits throughout the Twin Cities. This summer interns will bring home well over $1 million in wages to their primarily low-income families.
But the true value of STEP-UP Achieve is best seen through the individual stories of our amazing interns. It’s thrilling to watch the growth of STEP-UP Achieve interns from March to August and from one year to the next. They join our program as high school students, inexperienced and naïve about the world of work. After a month of work readiness training and 6-9 weeks on the job in a summer internship, these young people emerge as young professionals. They gain real, professional work experience and leave many steps closer to being ready for work after high school.
One of my favorite parts of working as a STEP-UP Achieve job coach is the letters we receive. We often get emails from excited interns raving about their summer jobs. One intern recently wrote, “My job is going great! I’m getting along very well with my supervisor and the staff. I've been keeping very busy by actually working with clients and people who can further advance me in my future career!”
Here’s another: “I want to say thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to work at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Working at the pacemaker clinic is a great opportunity that comes along only once in a million to a person like me who wants to be a cardiologist. Thank you so much for providing this great experience.”
Another intern wrote, “STEP-UP Achieve has given me plenty of work experience throughout these past three years. Now I am ready to venture off into college and hopefully land another job on my own. All thanks to you guys and your trainings! STEP-UP rocks. Thanks for everything!”
We hear from parents too. “As parents we're so happy for Jakob to have this substantial experience in the work-a-day life. He's now familiar with the chain of command of any job, understanding the role of human resources, using tools, showing up early, working through the day, taking a quick lunch and finding humor as it comes. He likes being a part of something larger than himself. Thanks for providing the structure and support for this young person who is thriving from the experience. We see it as a gift.”
During their summer job with STEP-UP Achieve, interns learn professionalism, punctuality, dedication, perseverance and the importance of attitude. Sometimes the strongest lesson comes when things aren’t working out quite right. It’s not always easy to offer constructive feedback to a 16-year-old, but the guidance that our supervisors and mentors provide to their interns really does make a difference, and helps build the foundation for the professionals they will become in the future.
Over the next few weeks we will be featuring some STEP-UP Achieve intern and supervisor bloggers sharing their stories. I know you will enjoy reading about their summer jobs and the ways these experiences are transforming their lives and futures.