Investment: With support from Target for the Get Ready Program, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) is closing economic and access disparities through early career experiences while students are still in college. Target’s philanthropic investment is unique in its ability to empower students through financial sovereignty: ensuring they are paid for their time and labor, advancing long-term economic equity while building social capital.
Eliminating barriers: The most common barriers to internship participation are unpaid or underpaid internships, students needing consistent work, limited access to professional networks, and internships requiring previous experience. These barriers can lead to major disparities in internship participation: Black and Indigenous students, students of color, women, and first-generation students disproportionately participate in unpaid internships. The CLA Get Ready Program addresses these issues of equity through a three-phase structure.
Phase one, “Prepare:” This phase includes the “Career Kickstarter” course that prepares students to land an internship, pursue undergraduate research, or engage in a learning abroad experience. Target’s support positions students to be ready to apply their learning immediately as they move into the next phase of the program.
Phase two, “Bridge:” In the “Bridge phase,” participating students are connected to industry-based projects that provide them with the opportunity to apply skills built through the “Career Kickstarter” course, establish professional connections in an industry of interest, and gain real-world experience. Through support from Target, students are offered compensation for their time and energy investment in these projects, aligning with CLA and Target’s shared priorities: provide equitable, inclusive, and financially accessible career opportunities for all students.
Phase three, “Make the Most of Your Internship:” In this phase, students take an “Internship Reflection” course while interning. This will facilitate peer interactions and hold space for students to process their identity in a professional setting. The structure also ensures a high-quality internship with a focus on creating learning goals and receiving feedback.
Commitment in action: Target holds a longtime commitment to recruiting diverse talent. Through this crucial funding for the Get Ready Program, Target is tipping that commitment into action: building pathways to thriving careers for all students, addressing racial and economic disparities in the workforce, uncovering pay barriers in experiential learning, and closing opportunity and resource gaps for students who have been historically underserved by career development.
Widespread impact: “Support from companies like Target allows CLA to expand existing programs to reach more students, provides direct support to students who encounter significant challenges in gaining experience through traditional recruiting strategies, and offers an additional pathway to building a more inclusive and equitable regional workforce.”
— Maggie Heier, director, career services, CLA