Frequently Asked Questions

How does the STEP-UP internship program benefit students?

STEP-UP Chattanooga allows students to explore career interests, gain valuable work readiness training and on-the-job experience in a professional work environment, earn up to $2,000 over the summer, and become better prepared for future careers or college. 

How does the STEP-UP program work?

  1. Students are recommended by School Counselors and College & Career Advisors to apply. Qualifications include: good attendance, on-track to graduate, positive behavior.

  2. Student applicants complete a STEP-UP on-line application. Our 2019 application deadline is November 2, 2018 for returning students and December 17, 2018 for newly nominated students.

  3. Those students who completed the application process will be contacted by a STEP-UP Chattanooga team member in February to go over the required steps to complete work readiness training and mock interviews.

  4. Interns participate in work-readiness training in October through January.

  5. Interns are matched with jobs based on their skills and interest, and the needs of the employer.

  6. Interns are interviewed and hired by their employer.

  7. Summer interns work at their summer job from June to early-August and earn at least $7.25 per hour.

Who's eligible to participate in STEP-UP?
Students who are: (1) currently enrolled in a Hamilton County high school without discipline issues; (2) will be 16 by May 1, 2019; (3) have financial need OR on free/reduced lunch; (4) have good school attendance record.  For other eligibility questions, contact Stacy Lightfoot at 423-648-4443.  

How do students apply for STEP-UP?
Please see Become an Intern page. The application deadline for our 2019 summer program is November 2, 2018
 for returning students and December 17, 2018 for newly nominated students. For more information, contact Janice Neal at 423-668-2423 or

When will students hear if they have been accepted to STEP-UP?

Each student will receive a welcome letter upon completion of the STEP-UP Student Application. All students that submit a completed application, attend required trainings, and other necessary activities will have the opportunity to interview for a STEP-UP Chattanooga internship.

What is work readiness training?

STEP-UP Chattanooga students participate in work-readiness training in October-January. This training teaches the skills that interns need to be successful in their internships and future job searches, including:

  • Creating strong résumés

  • Dressing properly for any job opportunity

  • Communicating professionally with supervisors and co-workers

  • Responsible use of technology

  • The essentials of building a professional network

  • Preparing for successful job interviews (each participant does a mock interview with a business professional)

Is work readiness training required? When will it be held?
Work readiness training is required. It is a critical part of the STEP-UP Chattanooga experience that provides interns with the skills they need to be successful at their summer jobs. Students will select ONE training day on their STEP-UP Student Application, to be held on a Saturday in November, December, January, or February. The deadline to make changes is printed in the initial letter. If a student fails to show up to training or is late without prior permission, they will be dropped from STEP-UP Chattanooga and will not be eligible for a summer job.

Can students participate in summer school or other activities while they are in STEP-UP?
Yes. STEP-UP jobs will be part-time (at least 20 hours). We make every effort to accommodate intern schedules. However, because STEP-UP Chattanooga jobs generally take place on weekdays between 8 am and 6 pm, students' ability to get a job will be limited if they have other daytime commitments.   

How are students matched with jobs?
Interns are matched with jobs based on their interests, skills, and availability.  We do our best to match interns with their work preferences. However, students may not get their 1st choice, but all jobs are relevant and will give valuable experience.
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.


Are students a STEP-UP Chattanooga employee?
STEP-UP Chattanooga is not the official employer. Most interns are hired directly by the company with which they are placed. If concerns arise and a student is unable to resolve these issues, or needs additional support, contact STEP-UP staff for assistance.

Public Education Foundation

423.265.9832 fax

423.265.9403 phone

Chattanooga, TN 37402

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