Minnesota Trades Academy Hosts 50 Twin Cities Students for a Paid Summer Internship Program

In the past five years, the Minnesota Trades Academy (MTA) has graduated more than 150 young people from its paid summer construction internship program. This summer, from June 20 until mid-August, 50 interns will experience the program and receive personal tours of at least five construction programs and union apprenticeship training centers in the Twin Cities. Interns also will learn how to read blueprints, use tools and practice construction safety on their summer project worksites. 

The Construction Careers Foundation developed The Minnesota Trades program for students who are interested in exploring careers in Minnesota’s building trades and construction industry. 

“The Minnesota Trades Academy is a paid internship program for young people who do real work and practice valuable real-world skills applicable to any construction site,” said Construction Careers Foundation Program Director Lindsay Tallman. “Interns will use this summer to strengthen their skills and explore career pathways that they can apply to when they turn 18 and are eligible to join a construction trades union.”

A group of Interns at Right Track.

Photo Credit Lindsay Tallman.

The Minnesota Trades Academy interns are 16 to 22 years old. They register and interview for the apprenticeship through one of four local cohorts – Minneapolis Step Up, St. Paul Right Track, Ramsey County’s Hired and Brooklyn Centers’ BrookLynk.

The internship includes two consecutive tracks of focused study. 

Track I is an eight-week introduction into construction career opportunities in the building trades industry. Interns work in hands-on workshops led by MTA leaders on how to use tools, practice measuring, and get the chance to build take home projects. Interns also practice specific trades experiences such as carpentry, pipefitting, and demo with the electrical trades. They are also exposed to industry-related careers such as architecture, surveying, estimating, project management, and design build.

Track II directs interns toward an advanced route of applied learning. Interns are prepared to select a construction career path to further explore – union apprenticeship training; construction-related post-secondary tracts; or direct entry into the construction workplace. From there, interns enter different apprenticeship training centers where they receive tours, training and supervision from industry experts while completing projects using both hand and power tools.

“We look forward to another successful year of trades exploration and we want to thank our community partners, trade unions and amazing mentors for providing our interns with a comprehensive view of all that Minnesota’s construction industry has to offer,” Tallman said.

To learn more about the Minnesota Trades Academy and the Construction Careers Foundation, visit ConstructionCareers.org.


Are you a student looking for a summer job? Here are five ideas to help kick-start a career in the construction trades

What better time to explore your future than during the summer!

Are you a hands-on learner, a quick problem solver, or mechanically inclined? Do you like figuring out how things work, building something from the ground up, or working with others on a project? For middle and high school students, early exposure to construction trades allows you to experience a variety of skills that can help guide you towards a career you enjoy. 

For those interested in cultivating their skills and working toward a possible career in construction, here are five jobs you can do this summer to help you prepare and gain prior experience in various fields that can help you build a promising career in the trades.

Ten students sitting around a table.

Photo Credit Lindsay Tallman

Landscaping – Spend your summer outside working with a team of landscapers. Learn how to plan, construct, and execute an exterior home landscape design while testing your physical exertion and ability to adapt to changing weather conditions. Professional trades such as laborers, tile workers, and sprinkler fitters recommend experience in these conditions to set you up for later success.

Local Hardware Store – In almost any town or suburb, you can find a local hardware store looking for employees. This is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with tools, their functions, and how to work with customers seeking solutions to their problems. Plumbers and lathers stress the importance in recognizing tools and understanding how to fix problems on their own. 

Manufacturing Plant – Experience a large workplace and learn from others while working with machinery, blueprints, and recognizing construction hand signals. Manufacturing plants allow you to gain insight on the collaborative nature of construction careers, pushing you to work with others and learn how to make your working environment safe. Boilermakers utilize their knowledge gained while working with large machinery and reading blueprints, securing themselves as professionals in their trades. Note: Some plants may have age restrictions for various jobs within a plant.

Auto-shop – Understanding the inner-workings of a car engine and getting your hands fitted with finding solutions is a keen pathway into mechanics. Working in an automotive shop, even a quick oil-change shop, can help enhance your tool recognition and get you comfortable with electrical and mechanical work. Electrical trades, elevator construction, and millwright careers consider these skills necessary to the job.

Learn at home – Is there work around the house that needs tending to? Finding projects around the house is a great way to introduce yourself to construction careers, as there are many resources available online to help you fix that one leak under your sink, or build a new shelf, or fix up the tiles on your patio. Youtube channels such as Home RenoVision DIY, MattBangsWood, and finehomebuilding make learning on your own easy. The more you watch, the more you learn and grow from others.

About the Construction Careers Foundation

If you want to learn more about Construction Careers Foundation, or wish to explore more construction trades, visit ConstructionCareers.org or click here.