Step Up Program at the U of M

What is Step Up?

The Step Up program, a nationally-recognized youth internship program directed by AchieveMpls, and part of the City of Minneapolis. 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 places over 1,600 diverse and talented young people in paid professional internships with approximately 200 top Minneapolis-St. Paul employers. Step Up has provided over 28,000 internship opportunities since 2004 – including 613 at the University of Minnesota– yielding tremendous benefits for young people, businesses, and our regional economy. We hope to reach our goal of collectively hiring 45-60 interns at the University of Minnesota this summer.

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?

To hire a Step Up intern, you must submit an online Job Description form by Friday, April 24. Please note that forms received after April 24 will still be considered. The Internships run from June 29 - August 13, and the approximate cost for each intern is $2,500. 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 Form by March 20. For more information or assistance, please contact Denise Dieffenbach ( in the Office for Equity and Diversity. You can also learn more on our website by reviewing the attached Employer Roadmap to Hiring Step Up Interns or by contacting Devona Thomas ( at Achieve Minneapolis. 

Step Up Supervisor Orientation

Join us for a Step Up Supervisor Orientation on May 22, 2020 from 9 am to 11:30 am in Northrop, Seminar Room. 

Every supervisor is required to participate in a Supervisor Orientation prior to the start of the internships. The session will review key program information, answer common supervisor questions, and provide you with a set of tools to make supervising interns easier. We want to reach the individuals directly overseeing the interns in their workplace.