Target, Summit Academy Partner to Launch North Star Innovation Center
Summit Academy aims to teach skills needed for jobs in health care, the construction trades, and IT. Summit Academy OIC's Facebook page

Target, Summit Academy Partner to Launch North Star Innovation Center

The information technology training and learning center will be in North Minneapolis.

Minneapolis-based retailer Target Corp. and workforce development nonprofit Summit Academy OIC are teaming up in north Minneapolis. Target is providing space for Summit Academy to expand its operations and open the North Star Innovation Center, a new information technology learning and training center. The innovation center will be located at the Regional Acceleration Center at 1256 Penn Avenue North in North Minneapolis.

“We’ve invested in North Minneapolis to support a strong quality of life for families in the neighborhood, and the Regional Acceleration Center is an important part of that investment,” said Brian Cornell, Target’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “With its expertise in helping Black families and other residents overcome social and racial inequities, Summit Academy is an excellent community resource.”

Summit Academy currently trains nearly 1,000 adults every year, teaching skills for health care, the construction trades, and IT. The organization also operates a 10-week GED program. Students can attend without paying out-of-pocket tuition or taking on student loans.

“The North Star Innovation Center will be an inspiring and transformative place where Black men and women will build new opportunities for themselves and their families,” said Summit Academy OIC’s president and CEO Louis King in a statement. “Alongside Target and the Northside community, we’re taking action against racial inequity.”

Target previously struck a “strategic partnership” with Fridley-based Thor Companies, which developed and built the Regional Acceleration Center, the most significant development investment in North Minneapolis in decades.

Target’s involvement, which included taking a master lease for the building’s third floor, was essential for Thor to close on the project financing. But not long after the completion of the $36 million office building, Thor collapsed amid financial woes and went out of business.

The latest announcement extends the work that Target is doing in the wake of social unrest following the death of George Floyd.

In early June, the company committed $10 million to “advance social justice and support rebuilding and recovery efforts in local communities.” In addition to that Target has pledged “10,000 hours of pro-bono consulting services for Black-, Indigenous- and people-of-color-owned small businesses in the Twin Cities to help them rebuild.”