Employers needed to host summer interns

April 17, 2024

1,200 youth are ready for jobs, but many will go without an internship if more employers don’t step up

Minneapolis Employment and Training is looking for organizations to invest in developing local talent by hiring or hosting youth interns this summer. Right now 1,200 Step Up participants ages 14-21 have completed their training and are ready to work. Current employer partners have committed to 800 jobs, but almost 400 more jobs are needed. 

“Hiring youth is not only an investment in their individual future, it’s an investment in the future of our city,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “When we provide opportunities for teens and young adults to learn, grow, and contribute, we help build the next generation of leaders. Step Up is an excellent opportunity for Minneapolis employers — and I encourage local businesses to consider being part of this incredible program this summer.” 

The Step Up youth internship program has a long history in Minneapolis. In addition to strong support by the current mayor, it has been supported by each mayor since its founding in 2003 by then-Mayor R.T. Rybak. Step Up is also supported by the business community. 

“Having a strong talent pipeline is key to our growing economy. Participating in Step Up is just one way that the Chamber gets directly involved,” says Jonathan Weinhagen, the CEO and president of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce. “We know firsthand that hosting an intern at your business can make a big impact in the life of a young person. You get the benefit of new ideas and extra help around the office, and you can feel good about paying it forward as you help grow the workers of our future.” 

For more than 20 years, Step Up has trained and prepared Minneapolis youth for paid internships and career experiences. More than 200 community partners and employers have hosted or hired Step Up interns, from small nonprofits to large corporations, spanning 15 industries. Serving historically underrepresented youth in Minneapolis who are ready to navigate the professional world, Step Up helps organizations diversify their workforce and build a base of young, skilled workers for the entire region.  

Step Up interns are divided into two levels based on their ages. Interns from both levels participate in work readiness training through the spring, learning about basic work expectations and communication on the job. Additional topics include work documents, payroll taxes, goal-setting and professional branding.  

For younger youth placed at nonprofits or public agencies, wages are paid by Step Up. For older youth placed at private sector businesses, wages are paid by the employer. Interns at both levels bring enthusiasm and fresh perspectives to the organizations who are investing in them. 

Step Up helps internship supervisors too. A half-day training is conducted in May to help those supervising the summer interns to learn about the structure, tips and tools that lead to a successful youth internship. Job coaches and other Step Up staff continue to support both interns and their supervisors all along the way. 

This year, internships run from June 24 to Aug. 16. 

To learn more or sign up, visit the Step Up employer page on the City website

Step Up is a program of the City of Minneapolis in partnership with Achieve Twin Cities, Project for Pride in Living and the Minnesota CareerForce Centers (Department of Employment and Economic Development).