Youth Job Readiness

Keystone helps young people gain skills to prepare for the world of work by offering paid apprenticeships and training.

Offering Youth Opportunities to Develop Good Work Habits and Skills

To succeed in today’s workforce, teens need early opportunities to develop desirable skillsets. The goal of Keystone’s Youth Employment program is to use engaging work readiness training and real work experiences to develop the habits and skills that young people will need to confidently compete for jobs in the future.

youth get first Job experience

Through a variety of paid apprenticeship positions throughout Keystone, teens experience their “first job” and learn critical work-readiness skills to prepare them for any workplace. Certain apprenticeship positions, like those at Express Bike Shop, also help youth develop their business awareness and an entrepreneurial mindset. Youth working as apprentices at the Rice Street Food Shelf or Community Kids develop a deeper understanding of working with families in need or kids who need extra academic or social support.

Support Youth Apprenticeships

You can help a young person thrive in their first job.

Donate to Give Teens Job Skills 

Shop at Express Bike

  • Youth learn bike mechanic skills in their job at the Express Bike Shop.
  • Teens in Urban Apprentice Training
    Youth practice teamwork and communication in Urban Apprentice Training.
  • Youth have the opportunity to do summer apprenticeships at other Keystone locations, including the Keystone Food Shelves.

Youth Apprenticeship Programs Work

Youth who participate in Keystone’s Youth Apprenticeship program receive many benefits, including:

  • Paid apprenticeships: Students are paid at wages between $10-11/per hour (depending on role and experience) and typically work 10-15 hours per week for approximately 200 hours
  • Training: Complete the Urban Apprentice and Next Steps Training (see below)
  • Feedback: Complete assessments (pre- and post-) to measure learning and quality of their experience in the program
  • Coaching: Ongoing coaching and mentoring from invested adult staff
  • Reference for next job: Receive positive work reference upon satisfactory completion

Get More Information About Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are made by possible by partners and funders who give us financial support to offer enriching employment and training opportunities for young people in our community. We are grateful for a partnership with St. Paul’s Right Track program which helps build Saint Paul’s workforce by providing career-readiness opportunities and work experience for under-resourced youth.





Training Makes Youth Express Unique

Keystone’s Youth Express program offers young people training to make their first job more meaningful and to help build their skills for their future jobs.

Urban Apprentice Training

Urban Apprentice Training is Youth Express’ signature training. The goal is to offer young people interactive and hands-on learning opportunities related to business, entrepreneurship and basic/advanced work skills. The multi-session curriculum consists of mini-lessons, group challenges and off-site field studies to reinforce concepts. Urban Apprentice helps youth develop work readiness skills and an entrepreneurial spirit in a fun, engaging and team-building format.


Next Step Training

The Next Step Training is a career development curriculum designed for youth as they are completing their apprenticeship. The training focuses on strengthening their ability to successfully compete for new employment or other leadership opportunities. During this training, young people reflect on what they have learned in their first job, imagine next steps in their educational and vocational development and identify and pursue their next opportunity.


Meet Ying, Youth Express Apprentice

Ying, Youth Apprentice

Ying has broadened his skills at Express Bike Shop

Ying applied for a job at Keystone’s Express Bike Shop because he wanted to broaden his skills.  He had already had experience working as a gardener but he wanted to learn new job skills.  “I applied at Express Bike Shop because I wanted to learn about customer service and running a small business,” Ying said.  During his apprenticeship, Ying has learned a lot about bike repair and recycling but he’s most happy for the skills he knows he’ll use in future jobs.  “I’ve learned how to use a lot of different tools, stock supplies and have gained so many more people skills.  Those are things I can use anywhere.”

Thank You to our Funders

We want to thank our corporate grant makers who invest in youth in our community through their grants to support youth employment programs at Keystone:

  • Best Buy Foundation/Club House Network
  • McNeely Foundation
  • Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
  • Mortenson Family Foundation
  • Walser Foundation
  • Xcel Energy Foundation

Support Youth Employment Opportunities

you can Make a first job experience meaningful for neighborhood teens

The Youth Express program depends on the support of our community to offer training and apprenticeships to young people. There are a variety of ways you can support the Youth Express program:

  1. Shop at our youth-run business, Express Bike Shop
  2. Donate a used bike or bike parts to the shop
  3. Make a gift online to employee a youth apprentice

Customers shop at Express Bike Shop.