STEP-UP Chattanooga: Enriching Business and Our Workforce


STEP-UP Chattanooga offers paid summer internships for Hamilton County high school students who face the greatest barriers to economic and career success. STEP-UP Chattanooga connects businesses with the next generation of talented and diverse workers, provides critical work-ready training and hands-on experience for young people, and builds a stronger workforce for our knowledge-based global economy. 

STEP-UP Chattanooga works with organizations to determine areas needing support, ensuring each business receives an intern skilled and interested in the work.

Participants in STEP-UP Chattanooga’s Internship program:

  • Expand talent pipeline
  • Bring fresh ideas, energy and creativity
  • Provide extra help for company projects at minimal cost

STEP-UP Chattanooga changes the trajectory of student lives by giving them the experience necessary to build vital skills needed for 21st century careers. Since its creation in 2016, STEP-UP has placed more than 350 high school students from Hamilton County schools in paid internships, generating more than $500,000 in wages.

STEP-UP Chattanooga will place 150 students in internships this summer with the help of large and small companies and nonprofits. Throughout the experience, students receive support from STEP-UP staff and supervisors at their place of employment.

The program needs 40 more internship positions to reach their goal. 

Internships last 6-8 weeks during June and July, and interns work 20 to 40 hours per week based on the organization’s needs.

Find out first-hand how a STEP-UP intern can positively impact your business and how you can enrich a young person’s life by partnering with STEP-UP this summer.

Contact Jeff Rector at jrector@pefchattanooga.org or visit stepupchattanooga.org.


“STEP-UP has opened up various work and internship opportunities; allowing me to gain insight into the corporate world - something I would be unlikely to do at my age without the program. Through STEP-UP I've also been able to make connections with amazing people who will likely be of great help to me in preparation for the future.” ­­

- Louis Ramirez, STEP-UP Intern who worked with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

“Our STEP-UP intern was a delight to work with this summer. He always came to work on time and dressed neatly with a smile ready for the day. His work presence with his co-workers was amazing and everyone enjoyed having him on the team because he was so appreciative of the opportunity and eager to always learn more.”

- De’Ronda Hubbard, Visitor Services Assistant Manager, Tennessee Aquarium