CLA’s Get Ready program puts UMN students to work

Over spring break, several students practiced Gen Z marketing strategies with a Minnesota nonprofit.


Fraser provides specialty health care and mental health services for individuals with disabilities. Photo taken by Char Myers.

by Amirah Razman

Over spring break, several University of Minnesota students worked on different projects with Minnesota nonprofit Fraser as part of the Get Ready program through the College of Liberal Arts (CLA).

The Get Ready program helps students gain work experience and explore various career paths without being tied to an internship or paid job. Paid jobs and internships can be difficult for students to access because of high competition and low pay, according to Char Myers, CLA’s Coordinator of Experiential Learning.

“We wanted to work with employers and students to create shorter-term opportunities as a way to expose them to different industries, so they can figure out [what they want to do],” Myers said.

‘Get Ready’ for a career

The Get Ready program started in 2022 and is still in its pilot stage, with 175 students enrolled in the program, heading into their last session in May.

The program is funded by CLA and provides a $600 scholarship for every student who participates in the program.

“The goal of the funding was to support students who experience the most barriers to finding internships, such as having limited income or being a first-generation student,” Myers said.

Myers said these short-term projects allow students to learn about a certain industry while working and learning more about companies that serve the industry. Some industries that are available to students participating in the May session include data analysis, logistics, sales and social media strategy.

Fraser, which provides specialty health care and mental health services for individuals with disabilities, is one of the organizations CLA works with as part of the Get Ready program’s spring break session. During the week-long program, students were asked to develop a marketing plan for Fraser targeting a Gen Z audience.

“Students did a lot of research on our current marketing efforts by analyzing our job postings, social media efforts and recruitment strategies,” Jody Paulson, assistant director of talent acquisition at Fraser, said in an email to the Minnesota Daily.

Brihan Dressel, a second-year global studies student who worked with Fraser as part of the Get Ready program, had prior experience in marketing as a social media manager and wanted to continue building on her marketing skills while serving the community.

“I’d been looking for a program where I get to collaborate with another organization in Minneapolis, so it was a good opportunity to apply a lot of the marketing experience that I had gained in the three years that I’ve been in the industry,” Dressel said.

Students who applied for the Get Ready program’s spring break session had the option to select three organizations they wanted to work with, and Dressel picked Fraser because it provided marketing experience.

“I really wanted to learn about a mental health organization such as Fraser that offers so much care for those with disabilities and people in the community who want a more diverse opportunity when it comes to education and the clinical care that they provide,” Dressel said.

Students build connections

Paulson said she was impressed with the work students did at the end of the week and said this experience was valuable for students because of the opportunity to learn about Fraser, expand their network and build skills in business and marketing.

“The students are provided the opportunity to hone their project management, communication, and presentation skills with the assistance and coaching of Get Ready Program consultant Ana Eliason, who was amazing to work with,” Paulson said.

Manisha Asrani, a first-year human physiology student who also worked with Fraser, said the opportunity increased her awareness of other people’s struggles.
“I was able to experience being around a group of people [kids] that learn and grow differently from myself,” Asrani said. “I know I want to work in health care in a setting like this in the future, so it was cool to see what the life of behavioral therapists and their work was like.”

Fraser was Asrani’s first internship opportunity, and she said she gained many valuable skills that would help her in the future, such as communication and networking.

“I learned about [the Get Ready program] through emails from CLA. I chose to apply because I felt like Fraser fit in with what I might want to do in the future,” Asrani said.

The work students did for Fraser did not end after a week, according to Dressel, as she still communicates with Fraser to check in on the project.

“I hope college students understand that they have a lot to offer, especially when it comes to attracting organizations and companies after graduation or during school,” she said.