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 Job Readiness
Offering Youth Opportunities to Develop Good Work Habits and Skills
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.
Youth learn bike mechanics skills to work in the Express Bike Shop.
Youth practice teamwork and communication in Urban Apprentice Training.
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
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 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:
- 3M Foundation
- Best Buy Foundation/Club House Network
- Messerli & Kramer
- Mortenson Family Foundation
- Securian Foundation
- Target Foundation
- Union Pacific
- 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:
Looking for support or know someone who is?
We know for so many people in our community, things in their lives may not feel as stable as they once did. If you or someone you know needs support please know our programs are here for you and we encourage you to refer people to us as well. We can get people connected to food shelf services, meals on wheels, crisis assistance, or refer to other community services as we are able.
Looking for additional food support?
In July we’ll also be hosting Foodmobile distributions, Free Farmers Market events and a Fare for All event, all in safe, socially-distanced ways. Check out our events page for the full schedule and check back regularly as more events are added.