U participating in program to give teenagers work experience this summer

The University will play host to approximately 130 Minneapolis teenagers this summer in a variety of jobs, internships and recreational activities, as part of Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s “Step-Up” program, according to University officials.

The program is intended to help teenagers obtain jobs and work experience during a summer where hard economic times have made such work scarce, according to Rybak’s office.

University President Bob Bruininks said the institution’s participation in the Step-Up program is one facet of his Children, Youth and Families Initiative.

The Step-Up programs will start in June and continue through mid-August, Bruininks said.

“(Rybak) said that he was going to initiate Step-Up to develop new opportunities that could replace the reduction in state resources,” Bruininks said.

Students from the Minneapolis area will attend programs ranging from athletic camps to design camps, he said. Bruininks said he hopes the exposure to different experiences and skills will prove beneficial for those participating.

“This will open up new opportunities for these youth,” he said.

Jobs and learning experiences will also be available through the University’s Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and at the Bell Museum of Natural History.

Funding for the University’s participation in the Step-Up program came from fund-raisers and charitable foundations, Bruininks said.

The Step-Up program is just one way the University will work to play a more active role in the community, he said.

“It’s part of our public responsibility to be active in the needs of the Minneapolis community and its children,” he said. “This is an effort to raise the aspirations of young people and to raise community connections to the University of Minnesota.”

Bruininks said the University already has programs that work with local youth, such as the athletics department and the Raptor Center.

Some selected youth will participate in programs through the athletics department, said Jim Turman, assistant vice president for recreational sports.

He added that the recreational department’s role in this program will be an addition to the department’s previous youth programs.

Geoff Ziezulewicz is a freelance writer.

The freelance editor welcomes comments at [email protected]