For many years, state demographers and economic experts have noticed a concerning trend: Minnesota loses more people than it gains.

A report compiled by the Minnesota State Demographic Center has revealed the state loses an average of more than 10,000 15- to 24-year-olds to other states each year.

To reverse this pattern and encourage more young people to build careers in the Twin Cities, the economic development organization Greater MSP partnered with several of Minnesota's top companies to host its annual Discover MSP Intern Week.

"In the workforce, the biggest asset we have is our people," said Matt Lewis, vice president of strategic initiatives at Greater MSP. "We launched this effort focused on specifically welcoming interns to the region."

Interns from Medtronic, the Mall of America, Target and other Minnesota-based companies gathered June 16-22 to connect and network at career development, volunteer and entertainment events.

Olga Baumann Arias, a corporate social responsibility and experiential events intern at the MOA, planned the Community Care Give-Back event. During the event, Twin Cities interns put together care packages for area school-age children, took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Bloomington shopping center and enjoyed time in the Nickelodeon Universe theme park.

"The event went really well, and the volunteering had very high involvement," said Baumann Arias, a Hamline University graduate who was born and raised in Ecuador. "It had its obstacles, but I had a lot of guidance throughout the process of building the agenda and sending emails. I think it was a meaningful event."

Companies like Medtronic, which has partnered with Greater MSP since the founding of Intern Week in 2015, view the week as an opportunity to help interns connect with the companies and the Twin Cities.

"We have 176 interns in Minneapolis, 70% of which have relocated to the area from another state," said Mark Smith, senior director of talent acquisition at Medtronic. "I feel very passionate about this state and the city. The internship program is a great way to bring in talent and drive awareness."

At Medtronic, interns don't just sit behind a desk, said Becky Kieffer, senior manager of the company's early careers team. Instead, they work hands-on with engineers, assisting them as they design and test products and therapies.

"We want to make a difference in the lives of patients," Kieffer said. "Last year, 74 million people were impacted as a result of our products, and interns get to be a part of an organization that helps improve the lives of people.

Medtronic designed the internship program to be a pipeline for young talent, and Kieffer's team uses the internships in a way similar to a 10- to 12-week interview, she and Smith said. Medtronic offers about 65% of its interns full-time positions at the end of each summer.

Kieffer said there was "strong participation" in this year's Intern Week, including the event planned by Baumann Arias at the MOA.

Smith, a Minnesota transplant himself, said he understands the importance of building community. He said he chose to live in a city where he felt "a sense of connection" and that is an important consideration for any job seeker.

"People in Minneapolis have really good values, and there's a real charm about how people interact and regard each other," Smith said. "The city is very cool. It's got great restaurants and places to go."

To Lewis and Greater MSP, being an intern in 2024 means considering a city's affordability, its abundance of job opportunities and sense of community.

"We try to keep it fun, and we always try to be equipped to answer those questions," Lewis said.