For almost two decades, Best Buy has been one of our strongest partners, supporting our career and college readiness work through financial gifts, Step Up internships, employee volunteers, board leadership and collaboration on the new Best Buy Teen Tech Center work readiness curriculum. Best Buy shares our core commitment to equipping young people with the skills they need for life after high school – and believes that this kind of investment is critical for their company and our broader community.
Generous Financial Support
For well over a decade, Best Buy has served as the Presenting Sponsor for our annual signature fundraising event – including our upcoming 20th anniversary celebration – which raises critical funds for our career and college readiness programs. The company also continues to create lasting social impact through their grants to Achieve, and this steadfast support of our career and college readiness centers and Step Up high school internships (in partnership with the City of Minneapolis) helps ensure that our highly respected and in-demand school and community-based programs are available to 20,000 young people each year.
More recently, Best Buy made a leadership-level capital investment in support of our growth in Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), which will allow us to accelerate and expand our career pathway centers into additional SPPS schools and also increase our reach in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) to serve students attending contract alternative schools and the new MPS Online School.
“Part of what makes Best Buy such a phenomenal partner is their shared commitment to a student-centered approach,” says Jennifer McGee, our director of advancement, who works closely with the Best Buy team to develop engagement and philanthropic investment opportunities. “They are forward-thinking and always mindful of what resonates with the young people who utilize our programs. Through that shared lens, we can effectively build on our partnership and expand our career and college readiness programming to best meet the evolving needs of the students we serve.”
Step Up Internships and Volunteer Support
Best Buy is also a dedicated Step Up employer, offering high-quality paid internships and professional mentoring at their corporate headquarters to help Minneapolis youth explore and prepare for meaningful careers. Dozens of Best Buy team members have supported students as Step Up supervisors, including Step Up’s 2002 Outstanding Alum Lindsay Harris who serves as the company's manager of emerging talent. Other employees have served as career exploration event volunteers, Step Up mock interviewers and mentors in our former Graduation Coaches program.
Achieve Board Leadership
Mat Watson, Best Buy senior vice president for finance, controller and chief accounting officer, provides dedicated leadership on the Achieve board of directors. He not only offers expert financial guidance for the Achieve team, but has supported students as an Achieve Graduation Coach volunteer. Mat was also instrumental in connecting Achieve with Best Buy for the opportunity to create a new workforce readiness curriculum for Best Buy Teen Tech Centers.
Best Buy Teen Tech Center Curriculum
Citing our expertise and extensive experience in providing career and college readiness advising for Twin Cities high school students, Best Buy selected Achieve to create their new workforce readiness curriculum for Best Buy Teen Tech Centers around the country. The company’s goal is to have 100 centers throughout the U.S. by 2025.
Created by our career and college readiness team director Caitlyn Cole and other Achieve staff, the new curriculum features 21 lessons on workforce readiness knowledge and skills, ranging from interpersonal communication and goal setting to job interviews, resumes, effective teamwork, career exploration, postsecondary applications and much more. Each lesson features concrete objectives, activities, resources and opportunities to customize for specific groups and students.
“We are so delighted to partner with Achieve on this project, which is already benefiting young people throughout the country,” says Mat.
Why Does Best Buy Partner with Achieve Twin Cities?
Achieve’s work is closely aligned with Best Buy’s mission to prepare youth for futures in careers where technology plays a vital role. “Like Best Buy, Achieve is committed to assisting students with a range of experiences and diverse backgrounds, helping to create a workforce for the future that truly embodies equity and opportunity,” says Mat.
“Our success in this mission and as a business depends on having strong, thriving equitable and diverse communities around us, communities which are strengthened by organizations like Achieve Twin Cities. Achieve plays a vital role in addressing the inequities in our local community and our need for a pipeline of qualified, skilled workers.”
Collaborative partnerships, like the one we share with Best Buy, are integral to addressing the challenges facing our community and moving the needle to improve results for our young people. Achieve is excited about continuing to strengthen this relationship with Best Buy, particularly given their robust diversity hiring goal, which includes supporting more students early on – especially BIPOC youth (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) – in gaining greater access to corporate spaces.
“In the Twin Cities we are blessed to have students with great energy and potential, along with talented and dedicated educators to help them grow and flourish,” says Mat. “The support and guidance of Achieve makes this a winning combination, and together, I have no doubt that we will continue to see even more students changing the world.”
Photo: Young people at the Minneapolis Brian Coyle Center Best Buy Teen Tech Center. Photo credit: The Clubhouse Network.