© 2020 by Columbia Urban League, Inc.



Since 1984, the Columbia Urban League has provided summer work experience through its Science Technology Enrichment Program (STEP), formally known as the Summer Work Experience Leadership Program (SWELP), primarily for youth between the ages of 14 and 19.  Over the years, employment has proven to be an effective strategy for helping youth to become productive members of society by reducing disruptive behavior and school dropout rates that often lead to juvenile delinquency and gang involvement. Last year, we redirected this program to incorporate some Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). In today’s technological work environment, STEM has become a pathway for livable income careers. Additionally, we are seeking employment opportunities that will inspire our youth to strive for academic success and careers that earn livable income wages for this program to be a success.

To be eligible to participate in the program, interested youth must complete a STEP application. The application requires personal information, prior work experience information, a personal reflection stating the applicant’s career interest, and why he/she would like to work this summer, two letters of recommendation, and a photocopy of formal identification. Coming Soon: STEP Applications will be available online at www.culsc.org and the Columbia Urban League office (1400 Barnwell Street, Columbia, SC 29201). on May 1, 2020, *(This is tentative depending on the status of the Coronavirus.) For more information, contact CherylH@culsc.org.



  • ​Participants must participate in job skills training/orientation before worksite placement.

  • ​Parents are required to attend orientation sessions.

  • Placements usually last for two to four weeks.

  • Participants work twenty hours per week.

  • Participants must write an essay on their work experience and lessons learned.

  • Participants earn a $250 stipend upon completion of a two-week work assignment and receipt of required documentation.



  • ​To provide career shadowing to introduce participants to real-life work experience.

  • To mentor, participants to increase their knowledge of business etiquette and work ethics.

  • To offer structured environments to help build participants’ self-esteem.

  • To encourage networking opportunities for exposure to different career fields.


​If accepted to participate in the program, the student and his/her parent (guardian) must attend a mandatory job-skills training/orientation before receiving their job site assignment. After successful completion of two 20-hour workweeks, the participant will receive a $250.00 stipend and a certificate of completion. Tentatively, the program will begin on June 15, 2020, and will conclude on July 24, 2020. 

​*Although we desire to serve all eligible applicants, the number is students served by this program is contingent upon the amount of funding we receive.