May 8, 2019
While in high school it is especially important for students to join programs or organizations that will help them further their knowledge and experiences for life after high school. One program that does this would be the Step-up program. What they do is provide teens with paid internships and jobs during the summer in hopes of gaining work experience. They also help prepare them for interviews by doing mock interviews and by showing teens the importance of eye contact and firm handshakes.
Elijah Mitchell a 17-year-old senior first learned about the Step-up program the summer going into his junior year. His older sister first joined the program a few years before then later persuaded Elijah to join. Through this program Elijah has had many opportunities presented to him, such as a paid internship during the summer at American National Bank as a loan processor. This internship later extended to a part-time position at the bank which led him to being promoted to the lead teller there. Elijah exclaimed that he loves his job and the people he works with.
The Step-Up Program teamed up with the Empowerment Network which helped Elijah land another opportunity. Elijah was offered the chance to be able to attend the MBK Alliance conference in Oakland, California. While he was there, he met a lot of successful students who were impacting their communities in a positive way; “It was such an inspiration being able to see many other young people do such positive things in their communities” Elijah stated. He also met and spoke with Barack Obama and pro-athlete Stephen Curry during the conference. Elijah emphasized that he learned many things while at the conference and felt very motivated to be successful in the future. “One of the most important things I learned from this experience would be if there’s not a seat at the table for you then you make your own table and you do the things that you want to do and surpass the others.”
KETV reached out to the Empowerment Network in hopes of interviewing Elijah on his experience in the program and at the MBK Alliance conference. Being on television was a dream come true for Elijah, he was incredibly grateful for the opportunity. Elijah said he was extremely nervous for his interview, but he felt like he did a great job. People around the community and at his job recognized him from the interview. Elijah’s parents were especially happy for him sharing his interview all over social media and calling all his relatives.