Step Up Program at the U of M

Note: Deadline extended to April 9, 2021. 

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. Step Up was among the few programs in the country last summer that offered career opportunities for young people during COVID-19. 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 over 29,000 internship opportunities since 2003, including more than 600 at the University of Minnesota, yielding tremendous benefits for young people, businesses, and our regional economy.

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 do I hire a Step Up intern?

To hire a Step Up intern, you must submit an online Job Description Form by April 9, 2021. Please note that forms received after that date will still be considered. Internships run from June 15, 2021 to August 13, 2021 and the approximate cost for each intern is $3,000.

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 9, 2021. For more information or assistance, please contact Denise Dieffenbach ( Learn more by contacting Amaris Holguin (


Connect with us

For more information or assistance, please contact Denise Dieffenbach ( Learn more by contacting Amaris Holguin (