Program history

The Urban Scholars program helps grow equity in our workplaces.

Making a difference

Urban Scholar in front of City Hall

Recognizing a problem

  • In 2011, the Economic Policy Institute reported that Minneapolis was home to the nation's worst employment disparity between whites and people of color.
  • In 2012, the Minneapolis City Council passed Resolution 2012R-456: Supporting Employment Equity in the Minneapolis Region
  • The resolution:
    • Named institutional racism as a critical factor in employment disparities.
    • Announced our intent to lead by example to increase racial equity in employment in Minneapolis and throughout region.

Creating solutions

In 2012, we created the Urban Scholars program to address employment disparity in our City by:

  • Serving racially diverse students
  • Connecting public and nonprofit organizations with young talent
  • Giving them the tools to build an equitable and inclusive workforce

Since 2012, our program has grown from:

  • Serving eight students in its first year to more than 100 each summer
  • A local internship program to a regional partnership

We recognize employment equity is more than just getting diverse students in the door. It requires a commitment at all levels of an organization to create and sustain an inclusive culture, while investing in both current and future employees.

Program video

Past participants, City leaders and partners talk about the Urban Scholars program.

Contact us

Urban Scholars

Civil Rights Department






City Hall
350 Fifth St. S., Room 239
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Office hours

8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday