Step Up Program at the U of M

Step Up Orientation for Supervisors 2022

What is Step Up?

Step Up is a Minneapolis-based partnership of the City of Minneapolis, AchieveMpls, CareerForce Minneapolis, and Project for Pride in Living. The Step Up program provides summer internship opportunities for youth ages 14-21 from Minneapolis who have not yet enrolled in a post-secondary opportunity. The program places more than 1,400 diverse and talented young people in paid online and in-person professional internships with approximately 200 top Twin Cities employers. Step Up has provided more than 30,000 internship opportunities since 2003, including more than 600 at the University of Minnesota, yielding tremendous benefits for young people, businesses, and our regional economy. 

Erik Halaas, Innovation Outreach and Program Specialist for the Toaster Innovation Hub in the University Libraries, hired a Step Up intern last summer. He shares, “The Step Up experience was tremendously rewarding. Operationally, the Toaster was able to receive some extra staffing and support during the quiet summer months. More importantly, we had the chance to craft a mutually beneficial experience that enhanced our space while providing growth and development opportunities of interest to a prospective U of M student. We were excited to see our Step Up intern go on to participate in the College of Science and Engineering's Rooted in STEM program this fall and recently be accepted to the University's class of 2026."

Why Step Up?

Step Up allows the University of Minnesota to fulfill our mission as the state's flagship land-grant university and provides an opportunity to address social equity issues within communities by facilitating the development of regional talent.

Benefits for supervisors and interns include:

  • Helping youth reach their full potential – interns gain hands-on work experience that prepares them for further education and/or employment
  • Mentoring and inspiring students to pursue post-secondary education – having a mentor on campus makes college more attainable. Over 75% of interns reported that their experience on campus impacted their career choice
  • Increasing productivity – interns complete a work-readiness training certified by the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, providing them with the skills necessary to meaningfully contribute in the workplace

How can I learn more?

You can learn more about Step Up at:

  • The Step Up 2022 Virtual Kick-Off event on February 17, 2022 from noon to 1 pm via Zoom. Speakers include Step Up co-chairs Jonathan Weinhagen (Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce) and R.T. Rybak (Minneapolis Foundation), and other Step Up leaders, employers and program alums. Register for this session here. 

  • University of Minnesota information session on February 24, 2022, from 2:30 pm to 3:15 pm via Zoom. At this session you will have your questions answered about hosting an intern at the U of M. Please register for this session here.

How do I hire a Step Up intern?

To hire a Step Up intern, you must submit an online Job Description Form by March 25, 2022. Please note that forms received after that date will still be considered. Internships run from June 21, 2022 to August 19, 2022 and the approximate cost for each intern is $4,000.

If the cost to hire an intern is prohibitive, we do have a limited amount of funding available to supplement the expense. If you would like to be considered for this supplemental funding, please complete the Funding Request Formby April 1, 2022. For more information or assistance, please contact Denise Dieffenbach in the Office for Equity and Diversity. You can also learn more on our website or by contacting Jeremiah Brown, Step Up Senior Director of Partnerships and Internship Innovation.


Connect with us

For more information or assistance, please contact Denise Dieffenbach (