Seven reasons why you should coach for next year’s STEP-UP Achieve High Tech Innovation Day



This past Saturday I had the delight of volunteering as a team coach at STEP-UP Achieve’s High Tech Innovation Day, held at Fueled Collective’s downtown office in Minneapolis. High Tech Innovation Day is a one-day experience for high schoolers interested in careers in technology where they hear from a career panel as well as a speaking coach before inventing and presenting pitches of their own. If you’re a current Fueled Collective member I highly suggest that you consider coaching a team next year. Here are seven reasons why: 1) Support the work of STEP-UP. STEP-UP is a job readiness and placement program that has placed thousands of teens and young adults in paid internships in the Twin Cities over the past 5 years. It’s an amazing program. Aside from hiring a STEP-UP intern at your workplace, coaching is a great way to get involved as a local professional. 2) It’s ridiculously fun. Our team was brainstorming electronic shock collars for spending, robots that sit on you and dollars that melt. There’s a lot of laughter in the room. 3) Free lunch. We’re not talking PB&J, we’re talking Pizza Lucé. 4) Low time commitment. Coaching is just a one-day gig. Maximum fun with minimum long-term obligation. 5) You don’t need to be a tech specialist. As a coach your main role is to be a friendly adult facilitator, helping to guide your team as they invent hypothetical solutions for specific design challenges. This isn’t about hacking or soldering, it’s about helping the team formulate and prepare to share an idea from scratch. And handing out Post-It notes. 6) Get Inspired. The energy and enthusiasm in the room is contagious. Speaking of business opportunities: If you could bottle up and sell the mental effects of volunteering with this group, you would be set for life. (Feel free to steal that idea!) 7) And of course, the incredible young people. Each of these youths has a story to tell. I met a nineteen year old girl who had just immigrated from Yemen in January. Another student I met was one of 22 siblings. You’ll meet young people interested bioengineering, law, medical technology, game creation and who knows what else. These teens are ambitious, talented, passionate, smart and hilarious and if you’re lucky enough to get the chance to spend some time with them, you won’t regret it. Caitlin Rogers is a Fueled Collective member and co-founder of Next Day Animations and Simplicity Metrics.