Training programs and employer partnerships help young people build careers

A recent Star Tribune article highlighted the student-employer partnerships available in the Twin Cities that are helping young people build careers. These partnerships provide jobs for students—often from communities of color—and workers for businesses.

Summit Academy, a vocational school in north Minneapolis, partners with employers in health care, construction, and IT to give its graduates a foot into entry-level careers. For Ahmed Omar, Peng Her, and Linus Onuoha, Summit’s 20-week technology-training program brightened their career trajectory. Neal St. Anthony writes,

Today, the three are second-year employees with career plans at Atomic Data, the data-center manager and IT-support company.

The free training by Summit, which requires 100% attendance, is supported by public grants, philanthropy and growing relationships with private employers such as Atomic and Design Ready Controls. They want to diversify their workforce with employees who can make $50,000 or more after several years of work, training and advancement.

Every Summit hire gets on-the-job training and an Atomic “fusion buddy” mentor to introduce them to corporate life, as well as soft-skills development with colleagues and clients. Communication often is as important as technical skills, particularly in customer-serving roles.

Summit also partners with Design Ready Controls, an electronic-control panel manufacturer in Brooklyn Park, and Best Buy, but is eager for more corporate partners to continue training for future workforce needs.

The Center’s Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree project recently released its second round of videos that highlight the programs and career pathways in Minnesota that lead to well-paying and successful futures. Summit graduate and Atomic Data employee Linus Onuoha was one of the featured interviewees, and he shares his story below.