Minnesota Aspirations in Computing (MNAiC) provides an array of year-round engagement opportunities for young women in high school to explore technology education and career opportunities. The program aims to enrich Minnesota’s IT talent pipeline with a diverse mixture of young women who are passionate about technology and are seeking opportunities to demonstrate their grit, gusto, and grace — And Minnesota businesses surely benefit from that!
2019 marks the sixth year of this tremendously successful partnership with local businesses. Since 2013, we have matched 131 young women with businesses across the state. And some of the matches have led to paid summer internships. This summer, we matched 26 talented MNAiC Honorees with 21 Minnesota businesses representing various sectors such as agriculture, retail, business, entertainment, finance, healthcare, and entrepreneurial ventures.
The participating students were:
Participating students expressed their sincere gratitude for the special time they were able to spend with a variety of technologists. When asked how the job shadow experience influenced their thinking about future technology education and career plans, this is what some of them had to say:
“It let me know a lot more about what you do in these types of jobs. I also am less worried because given the people we talked to none of them were super prepared for their jobs but were able to adapt.” ~ Student visiting Thomson Reuters
“I feel much more comfortable about potentially taking a job in technology. I was also previously worried about deciding on a major for college because it seemed like a large commitment. After meeting so many people today, I learned how they all came from different backgrounds and changed interests over time, so I don't have that fear that everything is set-in-stone.” ~ Student visiting Merrill Corporation
“It increased my interest in the field for sure! I loved hearing about her journey into the field as well, and it really helped me think about all the different paths there are for me to get there!” ~ Student visiting Minnesota IT Services
“I know about new jobs now and am more interested in tech." ~ Student visiting Unisys
“It made me realize just how much technology impacts every kind of business” ~ Student visiting Superior Managed IT Services
“It opened up the idea of starting a start-up as a future career plan as well as made me want to join a start-up. It also motivated me to pursue my independent technology projects.” ~ Student visiting Atlas Portfolio
Job shadowing has many benefits for high school students. The experience helps them identify which jobs they may enjoy and can influence their coursework and activity choices while enrolled in high school. Engaging with industry professionals can also be helpful when it comes time to determine minor and major fields of study in college. Typically, the biggest benefit of job shadowing is that it lets the students directly observe a mixture of jobs so they can better understand different roles in organizations and the variety of possible career paths from which to choose. Students also are provided the opportunity to network, potentially establish a LinkedIn connection, and engage with professionals who have an interest in their personal and professional growth. The value-added bonus is establishing connections with professionals that can make it easier to find a future internship and/or job.
Minnesota businesses involved in the Summer 2019 Aspirations Job Shadow Program were:
Arth0, Atlas Portfolio, Cloudburst, SBC, Code42, Ecolab, Fairview, Mayo Clinic, Merrill Corporation, Microsoft, Minnesota IT Services, Minnesota Twins, PricewaterCoopers, Prime Therapeutics, SPS Commerce, Superior Managed IT Service, Target, Thomson Reuters, Unisys, UnitedHealthCare, U.S. Bank, Veritas Technologies
Businesses and their employees also benefit from job shadow experiences. Career exploration initiatives such as Job shadow programs are an impactful community outreach opportunity for businesses that are committed to supporting the students and schools in their community. For the host business and their employees, a job shadowing program can provide a way for them to touch the lives of the next generation and truly influence their thinking not only about jobs and careers but also about their personal power and purpose. When businesses demonstrate the value and importance of ‘giving back’, it sends a clear message about the business culture and implicitly communicates to youth that this is an expectation for them as well, as they grow and mature. A job shadow experience often leads to internship opportunities and can serve as a talent pipeline to fulfill company hiring goals.
All of the participating businesses expressed satisfaction with their mentoring experience. A few examples were:
“I really enjoyed my afternoon with Anindita. I have such hope for our future. It is clear we have bright, talented, curious students coming to our future workplaces. I was very impressed with how Anindita conducted herself. She is a wonderful young lady and I'm very glad to have met her. Thank for this opportunity.” ~ Nancy Skuta, Minnesota IT Services
“Thank you for the opportunity to host Mary at U.S. Bank. I had a great time getting to know her and learn about her goals for the future. I found her to be an exceptionally bright young lady with great insights about what she wants to be in the future and how her job shadow experience might fit into that. More importantly, she came with great questions and an open mind to learn and experience new things.” ~ Kaade Wallace, U.S. Bank
“We found participation in the program to be a positive experience and will strongly consider participating again next year.” ~ Matt Gray, Atlas Portfolio
“It was an awesome experience! The young ladies were punctual, polite, and prepared. We learned a lot! They are incredibly smart and a lot farther ahead than most kids at their age. They’ll do fine in life.” ~ Bakhari Burrell, Fairview
View the Summer 2019 Job Shadow photo album on Flickr
Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence is always on the look-out for businesses interested in providing summer job shadow and internship opportunities. To explore the options, contact Russell.Fraenkel@metrostate.edu.
ABOUT MINNESOTA ASPIRATIONS IN COMPUTING
MNAiC collaborates with businesses, organizations, and schools to inspire, support, and empower young women in high school to become our next, best Minnesota-grown technology talent. Want to get engaged with the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing program? To learn more about how your organization can support the computing interests of young women in Minnesota and lead the movement to disrupt gender equality in tech, visit our website.