Youth Job Readiness

Keystone helps young people gain skills to prepare for the world of work by offering paid apprenticeships and training.
Youth working in Express Bike Shop

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 Express 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 apprentice working in Express Bike Shop
    Youth learn bike mechanics skills to work in the Express Bike Shop.
  • Teens in Urban Apprentice Training
    Youth practice teamwork and communication in Urban Apprentice Training.
  • Youth apprentice working in shop
    Youth learn all aspects of running a small business through apprenticeships at the Express Bike Shop.
  • Youth have the opportunity to do summer apprenticeships at other Keystone locations, including the Rice Street Food Shelf.

Youth Apprenticeship Programs Work

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

  • Paid apprenticeships: Students are paid at St. Paul’s minimum wage ($9.50/hr) 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 Yeng, Youth Express Alumnus and Express Bike Shop Manager

Manager at Express Bike Shop

Yeng has developed his mechanic talent and management skills at Express Bike

Since he was a kid, Yeng has always enjoyed working with his hands. In 9th grade, Yeng enrolled in the Express Bike Shop Apprenticeship program to learn about bike mechanics. He has been devoted to the shop ever since. Yeng’s work at the bike shop affirmed his interest and talent in mechanics, which led him to pursue and accomplish a degree in auto services at Century College. Once a shy and timid guy who didn’t even like to pick up the phone to speak with customers, Yeng is now a manager at the shop. He provides outstanding leadership and guidance to the new apprentice and oversees operations of the shop.  

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.

Keystone’s Programs are Essential: 

As you know, the Governor Walz issued an Executive Order directing Minnesotans to “Stay At Home” through April 10th. Keystone is an “essential” business and is part of the Twin Cities’ critical sector response to COVID-19. With this information, we will continue to operate our food shelf, crisis services, meals on wheels and case management programs that support our most vulnerable residents in St. Paul.  The executive order also defines “workers” and “personnel” as employees, contractors, vendors and volunteers. This clearly allows our dedicated and wonderful volunteers to continue serving at Keystone during this time. We will have more limited staff in our buildings but remain committed to offering vital support to those who need it.

Programs that are available to the community:

Our youth afterschool programs and active senior programs are canceled as well as any large gatherings in our community centers. AARP Tax Assistance is also canceled until further notice.

We are actively monitoring the situation and will implement any additional strategies when necessary. Stay tuned for updates as things are rapidly changing. 

How you can help: 

You might be wondering how you can help neighbors during this uncertain time. Here are the top ways you can support your community today:


Your cash contributions give the greatest flexibility to responding the your neighbors’ needs. Support your neighbors today. 


Give food and household items to keep our food shelves stocked. Click here to see our most needed items and where you can drop off your contributions.


Your time supporting vulnerable people in our community is needed more than ever. Sign up today.

We are so grateful for your care and support!

Health and Safety Precautions during this time

As you know, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is rapidly evolving. We are relying on facts to inform thoughtful decision-making in an ever-evolving situation. Keystone is committed to providing services in safe, healthy environments for all of our participants, volunteers, and staff. During this time of heightened awareness, we are maintaining our thorough cleaning and food safety standards and expanding them as necessary.