Last summer we hired two interns through a program called Step-Up. This program runs through the city of Minneapolis’ Achieve program and helps place high school students into professional jobs throughout the city, often giving them their first jobs, or first jobs in office environments. From their website: “STEP-UP Achieve places Minneapolis young people ages 16-21 in paid internships with top local companies, nonprofits and public agencies, providing work readiness training, professional connections and ongoing support. We’ve connected over 5,000 young people with more than 200 top employers since 2004.”
I recently attended a breakfast celebrating the 10th anniversary for the program, and heard a number of inspiring success stories. This year (2013) the program is planning to place at least 800 youth in jobs, which will bring in over $3 million in wages, often to low-income families.
Last year we had two wonderful interns, Todd and Sowda. They were smart, curious, and hardworking. They learned about search engine marketing, assisted on a number of our Pro Bono clients, and each week they scoured the internet marketing news and updated the staff on important changes and announcements in our industry.
For our staff, it was a great opportunity to mentor and train young people, and it helped us define some of our training processes. We’re a pretty intense bunch of Type-A personalities (actually Type D, if you follow the DiSC profiles, as we do), and that means that we’re so focused on results and action that sometimes we don’t develop the processes and onboarding training that’s necessary for new people. Bringing in the STEP-UP Achieve interns helped us to this, and also gave our staff more opportunities to mentor and manage others.
We’re excited to have two more interns from the program this summer, and I highly encourage other MN companies, including other agencies, to bring in STEP-UP interns of their own.
Learn more about STEP-UP and Achieve Minneapolis.