STEP-UP ready to place students at high tech internships in Minneapolis

by Curt Prins

If Minnesota aspires to realize a vibrant and growing high-tech industry, we must explore a different ways to introduce and engage our community with high-tech career opportunities. This is especially true for reaching out to our future — the youth.

Fortunately, the City of Minneapolis provides a great pathway for us to expose local youth to our high-tech community while also adding value to our various growing companies.

STEP-UP is a seven-year-old program for Minneapolis youth ages 16 to 21 to gain real-world experience through summer internships. Last year, nearly 180 organizations across Minneapolis provided these opportunities for over 1,300 youth.  While the participating companies are largely skewed towards finance, legal and healthcare industries — established companies like US Bank, Best Buy, Thrivent are known for placing summer interns in IT departments over the years.

These were not fast-food gigs or landscaping labor, but targeted on-the-job training that exposes youth to future career choices and the benefits of pursuing higher education. The program isn’t limited to the Fortune 500. STEP-UP is seeking to add more high-tech firms to its list of options for students.