Urban Scholars begin fifth summer working for City of Minneapolis, partner organizations

Program provides a diverse group of college students with resume-building professional experience

Minneapolis’ fifth cohort of Urban Scholars began work in 17 different City departments and both the Mayor’s Office and City Council offices, developing leadership skills and learning about careers in government. For the third year in a row Urban Scholars are also working with partner organizations. This year partner organizations include Greater Twin Cities United Way, Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Council, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation, Minneapolis Public Schools and the State of Minnesota. The Urban Scholars program is a full-time leadership and professional development program that includes a paid internship experience and aims to provide undergraduate and graduate students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds with a professional employment experience focused on gaining essential leadership skills and creating a resume-building career pathway. The 12-week program runs through Aug. 12.

This year’s 77 Urban Scholars attend colleges across the country and were chosen from more than 500 applicants. The students selected are working in key areas of City government and public policy. In the long run, the City and partnering organizations hope to develop a group of young talent to begin careers in the public and private sectors, who will someday be the next generation of City leaders.

In addition to the work in their various departments and partner organizations, the Urban Scholars participate in the Urban Scholars Leadership Institute each week. Here they receive professional and leadership development training and build communication skills through a specialized Toastmasters curriculum. New this year, the Urban Scholars will develop project management skills by completing small group projects focused on voter outreach and engagement. The purpose is to create an experiential learning environment where skills in leadership, professional development and public speaking can be applied in a hands-on approach. Throughout the summer, Urban Scholars will also participate in a number of activities including a roundtable discussion with leaders from across the metropolitan area, a volunteer project through United Way, networking events and site visits.

Urban Scholars is managed by the Equity Division of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, which aims to close the employment gap in a city and metro area that suffers from one of the highest disparities between white and non-white unemployment in the country.

More information about the program is also available on the Urban Scholars web page.

Published Jun 6, 2016