Department of Civil Rights

Velma J. Korbel, Director

350 S. 5th St., Room 239
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone: (612) 673-3012
Fax: (612) 673-2599
TTY: (612) 673-2157

Office Hours:
8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday

About the Program

The Urban Scholars Experience

What do Scholars have to say about their experience?
Program alumni reported improvement in their...
  • Values-Based Leadership
  • Understanding of Diversity & Inclusion
  • Networking Skills
  • Public Speaking Skills
Many Scholars have continued
working at their placement site beyond the summer!
"Professionally, I became more confident in myself and my capabilities"
~ 2015 Scholar

"Urban Scholars was a way to learn about other experiences and cultures, while having a valuable internship experience."
~ 2016 Scholar

"Working with DEED this summer means everything to me because, through this program, I managed to grow professionally and also impact our community."
~ 2017 Scholar


"The program fostered my individual strengths in collaboration, public speaking and leadership in an engaging environment full of like-minded individuals who are as passionate about diversity and inclusion as I am."
~ 2014 Scholar

"During my time at Hennepin County, I have also had the opportunity to connect with professionals from varied fields including law, public health, communication, human resources, and so on, and build my own professional network."
~ 2017 Scholar


Has someone from your school participated in Urban Scholars?

This map shows the colleges and universities that Urban Scholars have attended.


History of the Program

Urban Scholars was developed by the Equity Division of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. This division was established to address racial disparities in employment as a result of the 2011 Economic Policy Institute report that said the Minneapolis region has the worst employment disparity between whites and non-whites in the nation. This sobering fact resonated with elected officials and department leadership especially considering that the population of Minneapolis is over 40% people of color.

In the summer of 2012, the City Council passed Resolution 2012R-456: Supporting Employment Equity in Minneapolis and the Region that declared institutional racism as a critical factor in the disparities. The resolution stated that the City would lead by example to increase racial equity in employment in Minneapolis and the region. As champions of this commitment, the Equity Division has shaped its work around the resolution and created objectives including empowering leaders of tomorrow; the motivation behind Urban Scholars.

The desire to address racial disparities played a significant role in the history and creation of the Urban Scholars program. Therefore, a strong component to the program is creating cohorts of future leaders committed to equity. Bringing an equity lens to the workplace looks different for each Urban Scholar as all Scholars come to the program with varied experiences with social justice. The program strives to support an atmosphere of learning and growth around the topics of power, privilege, and, oppression.

Last updated Jul 26, 2019



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People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000.
TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-637-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500. 

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