Chattanooga skyline.jpg

preparing Tomorrow's workforce today

STEP-UP Chattanooga builds tomorrow's workforce today by connecting businesses with high school interns who will be our next generation of talented workers.


STEP-UP Chattanooga places Hamilton County working-age students in paid internships with Chattanooga companies and public agencies; provides work readiness training, on-the-job experience, professional mentors, advanced career opportunities and ongoing support. All STEP-UP Chattanooga students will be employed by companies and organizations that require them to be legally eligible to work in the United States.


STEP-UP Chattanooga is modeled after the nationally recognized  STEP-UP Achieve program in Minneapolis, which has served more than 28,000 students since 2003.  Ninety-six percent (96%) of STEP-UP Achieve supervisors reported that interns made a valuable contribution to the workplace and the program was a success at their company.

The STEP-UP Impact

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.

Number of Students

Trained Since 2016


Number of Employers

Participating Since 2016


Amount of Money Earned

by  Students Since 2016


Long-term Impact on College and Career Readiness

STEP-UP Chattanooga will benefit young people, and the impact on career and college preparation can last years after the summer internship ends. Through on-the-job experience, professional support and work-readiness training, STEP-UP Chattanooga interns:

Build vital 21st century professional skills​ in accountability, collaboration, and problem-solving

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

Develop a network of adult professionals to mentor and support them in achieving goals​

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

Would you like to hire a STEP-UP Intern?

Would you like to be a STEP-UP Intern?



Our College and Career Success work supports students' exploration of post-secondary options by providing access to programs, higher education, workforce opportunities, and resources so they reach their fullest potential and live successful lives.

Our strong collaboration with families, schools, and community partners is integral to the success of our students achieving their goals.

STEP-UP Chattanooga is a program of the

Public Education Foundation

that was launched in partnership with our champion investors