“We joined SCCA to learn from and work with other successful businesses in the Seward neighborhood.”
SCCA Member: Jim Welna, Welna II Hardware

Migizi Communications Starts Program, Teams Up with Local Businesses to Give Teens Experience In Entrepreneurship

In today’s job market, it has become necessary for job seekers to have work experience if they want to land their ideal job. This places an increased importance on receiving education and internships in that field of work. Migizi Communications is helping American Indian high school students receive that experience by offering a program that will help create a path from the classroom to the workplace.

Native Youth Futures is a project started by Migizi Communications that offers American Indian high school students a class in entrepreneurship and financial literacy. In 2011, Migizi Communications was awarded a three year, $894,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Program to implement the program. This program helps the students develop an awareness and understanding of operating a business, as well as developing skills to create and participate in a team culture setting. Students explore career interests and then create a plan for their own business. Career interests expressed by the students have ranged from auto repair, clothing design, and restaurant ownership as well as media and online businesses. They will be able to track business performance and forecast income and expense through research. Students then participate in an entrepreneurship fair where they present their business plans with the opportunity to receive a $1000 business-related MicroGrant award to help start their business plan. In addition, winning participants, will receive 40 hours of business plan coaching with a business development specialist from the Neighborhood Development Center.

After completion of the course, students will then have the opportunity to participate in a summer internship with a local business in the field relevant to the business plan they created. This opportunity presents benefits for the both the students and participating businesses. Students will gain workplace experience, receive compensation, and continue to gain knowledge in their career interest. The local business will have a dedicated employee that is fully engaged and ready to learn. In addition, the business will be fully reimbursed at the conclusion of the internship through the grant money awarded to Migizi Communications.

In its first year, Native Youth Futures filled three courses with over 70 students, and over a quarter of those students will participate in the internship program. To date, over 12 local businesses in the Seward, Longfellow, and Phillips neighborhoods have already signed up to participate in the program as workplaces for the interns. As an Indian-controlled non-profit organization that has served the Minneapolis American Indian community for the past thirty-four years, Migizi Communications hopes the Native Youth Futures program will build on their mission to advance a message of success, well being, and justice for the American Indian Community.

Native Youth Futures is always looking for potential businesses in the Seward, Longfellow, and Phillips neighborhoods to join the summer internship program. If you are a business that would like to participate in the program you can contact Project Coordinator John Gwinn at 612-721-6631 x 222.  If you have any inquiries or questions, they can also be sent via email to jgwinn@migiz.org.

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