The Twin Cities region is facing the critical challenge of finding enough skilled workers to meet the demands of our increasingly high-skill, knowledge-based economy and fill the jobs left by retiring workers. While retirements are expected to rise dramatically, the number of young people moving into the workforce is expected to remain static, producing a significant shortage of skilled workers.
Young people are also facing an economic crisis of their own, with many locked out of the job market during the recent recession. They face several roadblocks in accessing the opportunities they need to find work, explore meaningful careers and develop the skills they need for long-term professional growth and success.
STEP-UP helps bridge this critical gap between our talented young people and the needs of our region’s work force. Since its launch in 2004, the program has connected over 16,000 young people with internships at top Twin Cities companies, nonprofits and public agencies, providing critical work-readiness training, on-the-job experience, professional connections and ongoing support for career and college success.
While jobs for teens nationwide are at historic lows, STEP-UP Achieve job placements are at record highs. In 2012, over 750 STEP-UP Achieve interns worked at 150 companies, the highest number of placements in one year since the program was created. Our goal for 2013 is to provide internships for at least 800 young people.
Long-term impact on career and college readiness
STEP-UP Achieve benefits for young people are tremendous, and the impact on career and college preparation can last years after the summer internship ends. Many interns keep in touch with their supervisors throughout college and use them as references to help find a job at the same company or in the same industry. Through on-the-job experience, professional support and work-readiness training, STEP-UP Achieve interns:
- Build vital 21st century professional skills
- Over 95% of our interns surveyed say the program strengthened their skills in workplace communications, accountability, collaboration and problem solving
- Gain a better understanding of their potential and their options for the future
- 95% report their internship prepared them to become a valuable part of the future workforce
- 71% say the program provided valuable insights into their educational and career paths
- Develop a network of adult professionals to support them in achieving their goals
- Over 85% report that their supervisor made time for regular check-ins and performance feedback, discussed future plans and helped advance their professional skills
- 76% of interns say they benefited from an on-the-job mentor
- 61% have stayed in touch with a supervisor or co-worker from their internship
- Gain the skills, social capital and confidence to help propel them toward their educational and professional goals
- 70% of former interns are now pursuing a college degree (four-year, community or technical college) and an additional 17% have already graduated from college
- 33% have returned to work again with their STEP-UP Achieve summer job employer
- Earn nearly $2,000 in summer wages
- STEP-UP Achieve interns collectively earned $1.3 million in wages in 2011, representing a significant contribution to low-income families in Minneapolis
Benefits for Twin Cities employers
95% of STEP-UP Achieve supervisors surveyed report that the program has been a great success at their organizations. Supervisors say the primary benefits of hiring a STEP-UP Achieve intern include:
- Bringing new energy and creativity to their workplace
- Providing extra help for summer projects at minimal cost
- Increasing diversity in their company and industry
- The satisfaction of impacting the life of a young person and giving back to the community while on the job
- Employee growth and development through the experience of supervising and mentoring interns
- Opportunities to demonstrate their commitment to the local community by supporting young people and helping to build a stronger work force for our regional economy
Learn more about how you can change a young life by becoming a STEP-UP Achieve employer or contact Director Jeremiah Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612.455.1562.