Minneapolis’ fourth cohort of Urban Scholars began work this week in 17 different City departments and the City Council offices, developing leadership skills and learning about careers in government. For the second year in a row Urban Scholars will also be working with six partner organizations: Metropolitan Council, Minneapolis Public Schools, Greater Twin Cities United Way, State of Minnesota, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation, and PCL Construction.
The Urban Scholars program is a full-time paid internship experience that aims to provide college 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. 14.
This year’s 56 Urban Scholars were chosen from more than 400 applicants. The students selected are working in key areas of City government and public policy, and in the long run, the City and partnering organizations hope to develop a group of young talent who can begin careers in the public and private sectors, and someday be the next generation of City leaders. The 56 Scholars attend colleges across the country.
In addition to their work the Urban Scholars will complete a small group projects built around a problem or issue of particular interest. 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 site visit to the Federal Reserve, rebuilding a school media center, and a roundtable discussion with Mayor Betsy Hodges. The Shannon Leadership Institute will also facilitate leadership skills development throughout the session and Toastmaster’s International has set up a special section specifically for Urban Scholars to develop their communication skills.
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.