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Xcel Energy and the Itasca Project – A Commitment to Youth

We are committed to providing youth in our communities the training they need to prepare for careers in the dynamic energy industry – and our participation in the Itasca Project (external link) is an integral part of this. We believe companies such as ours have a responsibility to help develop tomorrow’s workforce today, especially young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who often lack access to quality educational opportunities. 

In coordination with the STEP-UP Achieve and Right Track internship programs for high school aged students in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, we offer excellent opportunities for young people to start a rewarding career and develop valuable technical skills that will build a solid career foundation in the utility industry. These programs also help build our pipeline of future talent – something we view as a win-win proposition.

The Itasca Project is widely recognized in the Twin Cities area for its dedication to providing opportunities for young people, and has received national attention for its efforts, including a December 2015 New York Times (external link) article.

Numerous high school students have participated in the company’s internship programs in coordination with STEP-UP Achieve and Right Track, including recent STEP-UP intern Nimo Abdullahi.

"Working at Xcel Energy made me realize there is a lot more to this company than supplying energy. I enjoyed learning more about the industry and how to work in an office environment. The STEP-UP Achieve Program gave me a great opportunity and I would definitely recommend it to other students."

- Nimo Abdullahi


Intern Nimo Abdullahi with Denae Grant, Program Administrator;
Ben Fowke, President and CEO; and Judy Poferl, Senior Vice President.

Background and History of the Itasca Project

About the Itasca Project

The Itasca Project (external link) is an employer-led civic alliance whose members are drawn together by an interest in new and better ways to address regional issues that impact economic competitiveness and quality of life in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Its 50-plus participants are primarily private-sector CEOs. The group also includes a number of public and nonprofit leaders, including the governor of Minnesota, the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the chair of the Metropolitan Council, the leaders of the University of Minnesota and MNSCU, and leaders of major foundations. 

Itasca Project Goals

We are a founding member of the Itasca Project in the Twin Cities, which is dedicated to helping smaller local suppliers grow through procurement opportunities.

In addition to Xcel Energy, the group consists of chief supply chain personnel from large corporations including U.S. Bank, Target, United Health and General Mills, which meet monthly to discuss ideas for supporting the local economy by growing the capacity of small- and medium-sized businesses.

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