UNMC's Step-Up Omaha! participants graduate

by Lisa Spellman, UNMC public relations | August 05, 2019

Image with caption: Students who took part in the Step-Up Omaha! graduation ceremony are joined by Willie Barney (left), CEO of the Empowerment Network, Aileen Warren (second from left), assistant vice chancellor for human resources, and Evelyn Grixby (right), coordinator of the UNMC Step-Up program.

Students who took part in the Step-Up Omaha! graduation ceremony are joined by Willie Barney (left), CEO of the Empowerment Network, Aileen Warren (second from left), assistant vice chancellor for human resources, and Evelyn Grixby (right), coordinator of the UNMC Step-Up program.

UNMC held a graduation ceremony on July 31 for the 12 interns who have been working at UNMC and the University of Nebraska at Omaha this summer as part of the Step-Up Omaha! Program.

The Step-Up program -- Summer Training, Employment Pathway & Urban Pipeline -- is an initiative by the Empowerment Network and the City of Omaha in collaboration with community partners, including the Urban League of Nebraska.

This year's class of 12 interns is the largest Step-Up group that UNMC has hosted. Speakers at the UNMC graduation ceremony included Willie Barney, CEO of the Empowerment Network, Doug Ewald, vice chancellor for business, finance and business development for UNMC and UNO, and EliJahiana Parker, an alumna of the Step-Up program.

Step-Up Omaha! provides jobs and paid internship opportunities to youth and young adults, ages 14 to 21, in mutually beneficial paid summer jobs and work experience opportunities. Program participants gain valuable job training, work experience, vocational training, academic recovery and remediation, life skills training and community service opportunities.

In addition, participants can:

  • Earn up to $1,800 during the summer;
  • Gain on-the-job experience and explore career opportunities;
  • Learn more about their strengths, talents and career interests;
  • Gain valuable life and job skills, including interviewing, job search and customer service; and
  • Connect with long-term employment opportunities.

Tay'Drione Oliver-Veland, who has participated in the Step-Up program for the past four years, said his experience at UNMC was fun and enlightening.

"You build new connections, learn new job skills and it's something I would encourage everyone to take advantage of," Oliver-Veland said.

Aileen Warren, assistant vice chancellor for human resources, said that UNMC has proved very welcoming to the program.

"Every year we have more departments that reach out to us and want to be a part of the program," she said. "That says a lot in terms of the importance and the value that UNMC finds in having these young people on campus."

Barney said UNMC's role in the program has been exemplary.

"UNMC has fully embraced this program," Barney said. "The experience they provide our young people is unique and at a level that is unmatched in the city."

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Keyonna King
August 05, 2019 at 12:37 PM

This is great! I'm interested in hearing more about what kind of work they did this summer while they were on campus.