Program Impact

The nation is facing the critical challenge of finding enough skilled workers to meet the demands of our increasingly high-skilled, knowledge-based economy and fill the jobs left by retiring workers. While retirements are expected to rise dramatically, the number of young people moving into the workforce is expected to remain static, producing a significant shortage of skilled workers.


Young people are also facing an economic crisis of their own. They face several roadblocks in accessing the opportunities they need to find work, explore meaningful careers, and develop the skills they need for long-term professional growth and success.


STEP-UP Chattanooga helps bridge this critical gap between our talented young people and the needs of our region’s workforce. STEP-UP Chattanooga will provide young people with internships at local companies, nonprofits and public agencies, providing critical work-readiness training, on-the-job experience, professional connections and ongoing support for career and college success.


Long-term impact on career and college readiness:

STEP-UP Chattanooga will benefit young people, and the impact on career and college preparation can last years after the summer internship ends. Many interns will stay in touch with their supervisors throughout college and use them as references to help find a job at the same company or in the same industry. Through on-the-job experience, professional support and work-readiness training, STEP-UP Chattanooga interns:

  • Build vital 21st century professional skills

    • The program strengthens STEP-UP intern skills in workplace communications, accountability, collaboration and problem solving

  • Gain a better understanding of their potential and their options for the future

    • The internship prepares STEP-UP interns to become a valuable part of the future workforce

    • Interns provide valuable insights into possible educational and career paths

  • Develop a network of adult professionals to support them in achieving their goals

    • Supervisors make time for regular check-ins and performance feedback, discuss future plans and help advance interns’ professional skills

    • Interns benefit from an on-the-job supervisor mentor

  • Gain the skills, social capital and confidence to help propel them toward their educational and professional goals

    • Many interns will go on to pursue a college degree (four-year, community or technical college)

    • Interns may choose to return to work again with their STEP-UP Chattanooga employer

Benefits for Chattanooga employers:
The primary benefits of hiring a STEP-UP Chattanooga intern include:
  • Bringing new energy and creativity to their workplace
  • Providing extra help for summer projects at minimal cost
  • Increasing diversity in their company and industry
  • The satisfaction of impacting the life of a young person and giving back to the community while on the job
  • Employee growth and development through the experience of supervising and mentoring interns
  • Opportunities to demonstrate their commitment to the local community by supporting young people and helping to build a stronger workforce for our regional economy
Thank you to our generous partners!
Thanks to strong partnerships with businesses in all sectors--STEP-UP Chattanooga will change the lives of hundreds of students.
STEP-UP Chattanooga Champions & Supporters
Roy Vaughn, SVP & Chief Communications Officer, Corporate Communications, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
Andy Berke, Mayor, City of Chattanooga
Dr. Dan Challener, President, Public Education Foundation
Jim Coppinger, Mayor, Hamilton County
Bill Kilbride, President & CEO, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President of College & Career Success, Public Education Foundation
Sarah Morgan, President, Benwood Foundation
Mitch Patel, President & CEO, Vision Hospitality Group, Inc.
Keith Sanford, President & CEO, Tennessee Aquarium
Dr. Robert Sharpe, Secondary Operations Director, Hamilton County Schools

Public Education Foundation

423.265.9832 fax

423.265.9403 phone

Chattanooga, TN 37402

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