Public Education Foundation is recruiting Chattanooga area businesses to hire Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) high school students for paid summer internships through its STEP-UP Chattanooga initiative. Launched in January 2016, this robust internship program for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors is designed to address the challenges faced by both businesses and students in a complex, changing global economy.
STEP-UP Chattanooga will provide work readiness training designed to help students be successful in interviews and professional settings. Throughout the experience, students will receive support and feedback from STEP-UP staff and supervisors at their place of employment. STEP-UP Chattanooga aims to place 150 students in internships this summer, doubling the number of participants from last year.
Organizations hosting STEP-UP interns will build relationships with a pool of talented, diverse future employees while filling job vacancies and demonstrating a commitment to improving the lives of at-risk youth. Students will have opportunities to explore careers while developing work skills, as well as to network with adult professionals who can help them achieve educational and professional goals.
The following businesses, nonprofits and organizations have already signed up for Summer 2017: 2nds in Building Materials (Southeastern Salvage), 3H Group Hotels, Application Researchers, Art 120, Benwood Foundation, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Bridge Scholars, CBL & Associates Properties Inc., Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, Chattanooga Autism Center, Chattanooga Cares, Chattanooga Gas, Chattanooga Library, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, Chattanooga State Community College, Chattanooga Zoo, Chattem, Inc., City of Chattanooga, Creative Discovery Museum, Doubletree Hotel, Elder’s Ace Hardware, Electric Power Board (EPB), Elemi Architects, EMJ Corporation, Erlanger Health System, The Enterprise Center, Greenspaces, Habitat for Humanity, Hullco, Lamp Post Properties, Lifeline Inc., MediTract, Merrill Lynch, Newcomb Spring, Northside Neighborhood House, Public Market Inc., Regions Bank, River City Company, Riverside Plumbing, Rock City, Signal Centers, Siskin Hospital, SmartBank, Southeastern Tennessee Development District, SunTrust Bank, Tennessee American Water Co., Tennessee Aquarium, UnifiEd, United Way of Greater Chattanooga, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Unum, VaynerMedia, Vision Hospitality, Warren & Griffin, P.C., and WRCB-TV.
Many of these businesses participated in the 2016 pilot year of STEP-UP Chattanooga, employing 76 HCDE high school students in summer 2016 who earned over $100,000 in combined income.100 percent of STEP-UP Chattanooga 2016 interns indicated they would participate again if given the opportunity.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Inc. committed $300,000 and Benwood Foundation contributed $200,000 to fully fund the first two years of the program which serves underrepresented students, those most at risk for joblessness. The City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, HCDE, and the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce are also founding partners.
STEP-UP Chattanooga is modeled after the nationally-recognized STEP-UP Achieve Minneapolis program, which has served more than 20,000 students since 2004. The program complements PEF’s other College Access & Success initiatives, including Camp College, Passport Scholars, support for Hamilton County’s College Access & Career Advisers, and community education. For more information on becoming a business partner, visit stepupchattanooga.org.