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.


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

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.