Anne-Marie Kuiper is contributing to economic and educational opportunities for communities of color in the state of Minnesota. She has a master’s and PHD in human resource development and is currently the Director of Strategic Development at Summit Academy OIC, a vocational training institution. She’s especially proud of the program she created that provides students with a GED plus certification to work in construction or healthcare. Graduates have seen their average income increase three-fold because of the high skill levels gained in the program. Anne- Marie is also heavily involved in the community, including helping to establish North@Work, a program focused on moving 2,000 African American men into sustainable employment.
Director of Strategic Development, Summit Academy OIC
MEd Human Resource Development, 2001
PhD Human Resource Development, 2014
One professional contribution I am particularly proud of is designing and developing a contextualized GED program for Summit Academy that is 10 weeks in duration and bridges our vocational training in Construction and Healthcare. In a short span of 30 weeks, a student can attain their GED credential and post-secondary certification with marketable skills. Summit Academy OIC now has graduated over 100 GEDs and our goal is to reach a 1000 GEDs within five years. Of course, we won't stop there!
Urban Ventures, a nonprofit organization in South Minneapolis, offered a program for men at the Center for Fathering, now called Center for Families. As a volunteer, I served hot meals with a team of volunteers and staff twice a week and learned first-hand the challenges faced by men of color, in particular African American men with a criminal background, transitioning back to society. Barriers include: housing, employment, transportation, legal issues, racism and discrimination. It was one of the most eye opening experiences and set the stage for the work I do now.
My educational experience in CEHD led me to my current profession in workforce development at Summit Academy OIC addressing economic disparities in the State of Minnesota. The Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD) provided a rich training ground in theory and practice and the creativity to explore role(s) of HRD across different platforms. To date, I always look for innovative ways to drive change and identify new opportunities that will make an impact. The CEHD taught me to think outside of the box.
My fondest memory is probably the luxury of being able to spend hours and hours in Wilson library and getting lost in the library stacks picking up all these great books. I would always leave with more books than I could ever read.
George Garnett (1955-2016). An African American graduate from Yale in the late 70s, George was a relentless advocate in addressing economic disparities in his home state, Nebraska, as well as in the State of Minnesota where he worked as the Director of Strategic Development at Summit. He was a mentor to many, including myself, and a teller of great stories. He was also a practitioner with a deep scholarly bend in history, urban planning, and sociology. Incredibly smart, hard working, and passionate, George continues to inspire me every day to put my full self into the world and to do work that leads to meaningful change.
Communication. Learning to ask the right questions. Perseverance. Microsoft Excel.
My weakness for cookbooks has led to a growing collection of books with mouthwatering photographs, stories of pasta dishes made from scratch in tiny Italian towns, Belgian chocolate desserts, and dishes that include Bourbon and pecans. In 30 minutes, I have traveled and read my way through a five-course meal.
Enthusiastic. Dedicated. Collaborative. Adventurous.
An outside-of- the-box thinker. Strategic. Global. Food Enthusiast.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. When Work Disappears by William Julius Wilson. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (beautifully descriptive!)
Steve Jobs. If you were to chart his life course on a graph, I imagine it would look a little like a non-linear scatter plot. He attended and then dropped out of college, continued to take classes he found fascinating, launched Apple, got fired, started Pixar…. He was led by this cross-section of interests and found ways to connect them. In his well-known Stanford Commencement speech, he spoke about “connecting the dots” – you don’t always know where you are going but when you look back, you can see how A led to B. Also, Julia Child. Of course coffee would be with dessert after a fabulous meal that includes a lot of butter.
Without a doubt, the impact of Summit Academy OIC’s work in the community gets me excited about the work that I do. Summit Academy OIC is an accredited, nonprofit vocational training school in North Minneapolis and we educate and train over 800 low-income people of color annually. In only 20 weeks (or 30 weeks if they enroll in our contextualized GED program) an individual can shift his/her earnings from $12,060 a year to $34,000 plus in entry-level jobs in Construction or Healthcare. These are high-growth industries with career advancement opportunities and sustainable wages. We believe that the best social service program in the world is a job and at Summit we provide a platform (with no out of pocket costs to the students) that gives students the education, marketable skills, and social networks to succeed in their professional journey and break the cycle of generational poverty.
I oscillated between wanting to be a dolphin trainer and a hotel general manager.
I read incessantly; peer-reviewed journals, industry news, and a lot of non- fiction. Surround myself with individuals with different sets of expertise. I attend work-related trainings, workshops, and conferences.
I am Dutch but spent all my formative years in Hong Kong. When you grow up in Hong Kong, Jackie Chan is kind of a big deal. When I moved back to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, I landed a speaking part in a Jackie Chan movie as a CIA Agent. My line: “All units search for the disc!”