PPL's Alternative High Schools and other youth employment programs like Step Up help high-school-age youth define a career pathway and plan to earn the credentials they need to enter the workforce. PPL staff provide support and career guidance so students can avoid years of unemployment or underemployment.
As Education Program Compliance and Admin Coordinator, Sara is integral to PPL's Career Training programs for young people. Sara supports both Alternative High Schools, MERC's school nutrition program, education data administration, and helps coordinate the City of Minneapolis' Step Up program, in partnership with PPL.
Did you know the Step Up program recruits, trains, and places nearly 1,400 young people in paid internships each year? This would not be possible without Sara.
Q: What is Step Up?
A: Step Up is a City of Minneapolis program that prepares today’s youth for tomorrow’s careers by recruiting, training, and placing nearly 1,400 young people in paid internships each year. PPL’s Education program partners with Step Up to support the program’s internship work readiness training and job coaching. New in 2019, PPL worked with Step Up to offer work-based learning credits so students receive school credit in addition to work experience.
Q: Where do you hope to see this program grow?
A: Step Up has begun offering a program for pregnant and parenting teens with access to more schooling opportunities. The program has a partnership with Longfellow High School with a daycare available for parents when they have their internships. I would love to see Step Up continue to move in this type of direction – of being able to target populations that might not have otherwise participated in the program because of additional barriers.
Q: What makes your position unique?
A: My position is very relationship-based. I always feel like I can find a way to connect with the students that I work with. We always have a really positive, strong relationship. You have to have a good relationship with employers, or they’re not going to want to work. You have to have a good relationship with the youth, or they’re not going to know what they’re learning. I think having those good relationships is how you build a good program.
Q: Where do you find pride in your work?
A: Graduation. The ceremony is always really meaningful. We have all of our graduates give speeches where sometimes they’ll talk about a specific teacher, but they will frequently just talk about the school itself and what it means to them. It reminds me of what a good school and organization that I work for. Every day I get to hear stories of how our school has impacted youth in a positive way. That’s amazing.
Thank you, Sara, for all that you do for PPL students and our community's young adults!