The Fresh Grounds Cafe Youth Training Program

The Fresh Grounds Cafe Youth Training Program is a multi-phased vocational training program that offers youth the chance to learn and practice work skills in a supported, trauma-informed environment. The mission of the program is to promote workforce and educational attachment, confidence, and life skills for young people who are homeless/at risk, experience disabilities, and/or other challenges to mainstream employment. The training program enrolls and trains 30+ new youth annually, and includes a formal customer service, barista and safe food preparation training curriculum.

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A vocational “jump start" experience in a friendly neighborhood café

  • A 4-week on-the-job experience that trains youth in all aspects of café service, customer service, barista skills, and safe food preparation skills.
  • A 4-week concurrent vocational workshop that assists youth to explore their unique vocational preferences, deconstruct barriers to employment or education, and plan their next step.
  • A stipend upon completion, and linkage to employment opportunities at Fresh Grounds or in the community.
  • Opportunity for paid internship as a Barista I
  • Opportunity for hire as a Barista II
Who is a good candidate for the training program?
  • Young people 15-24 who experience challenges to employment.
  • Young people 15-24 who experience homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.
  • Young people 15-24 who like the idea of working in a friendly, supported environment, learning to make espresso drinks, and interacting with great customers.
What are the outcomes of the training program?

  • 100% of training graduates get an introduction to a real-world yet supported work experience.
  • 100% of training graduates are linked to basic resources that support independence.
  • 100% of training graduates are better prepared to enter the workforce and educational settings.
  • 70% of training graduates are linked to subsequent employment.

How do I refer a trainee or get more information?

For more information, please contact the Fresh Grounds Café Vocational Specialist, Kathleen Coolidge at 651-291-3842 or kcoolidge@rseden.org.

Trainee Comments

"I learned to improve my cooking, cleaning, and customer services skills."

"I learned how to overcome shyness and acquire better communication skills."

"I learned how to multi-task!"


Was in the area for a business appointment and looking for a quick lunch - came across Fresh Grounds next door. Menu had a good selection of breakfast and lunch items, along with a full array of coffee and tea beverages. Chose the St. Paul Breakfast Sandwich - eggs, cheese, veggies, salsa, sour cream on a tortilla. It was huge and easily could have served two. Prices for breakfast and lunch items are $7 to $8, which was very reasonable for the portions. The sandwich was very good. An iced tea was also very good. This is a busy place for lunch on a weekday. Staff helpful and friendly.

I was pleased to learn that Fresh Grounds is a non-profit that provides job training for youth and others in need.
– Andrew E.

Help Our Mission

As a non-profit social service program, Fresh Grounds relies on donations. 100% of our profits go back into our programming. Your patronage and donations double as an investment in our youth, our community, and our future.