Experiential Learning

Bakery Program

Our hands-on, “earn as you learn” job training program, teaches essential employment skills to teens in youth-centered bakeries. Our Bakery Program takes a creative, engaged teaching approach, equipping teens with fundamental job skills including:

  • Responsibility to manage a work schedule and ability to ask questions and be proactive about work tasks
  • Collaboration to work together with peers and take direction from managers

  • Initiative to complete tasks, problem solve, and critical thinking skills

Teens who demonstrate strong leadership skills and initiative in the bakery may apply to be promoted to Cart Captain. In this role youth earn a pay increase and take leadership in directing youth employee teams, training new youth employees and managing work assignments.

Classroom Curriculum

Foundations

Foundations

The lessons in Foundations focus on helping new Cookie Cart recruits understand and develop the skills they need to be successful on the job. This includes relatively functional competencies such as safety, hygiene and basic employee rights and responsibilities, and more nuanced topics such as communication with supervisors and peers, dealing with conflict, and character building.

Leadership

Leadership

Cookie Cart’s leadership courses are focused on helping all young people see themselves as leaders or emerging leaders and explore what that means to them. We believe leaders build leaders, who build leaders. The focus of these classes is on critical thinking, becoming a peer leader and mentor, resolving conflicts with others and between others, and more advance communication, including sales, marketing, and customer service.

Bright Futures

Bright Futures

These lessons prepare young people to transition out of their positions at Cookie Cart and into a next job. Youth are encouraged to think about and explore possibilities, and look for jobs that are a good fit for their interests, skills, strengths, goals, and values. Each lesson walks participants through a part of the job seeking process (searching, applying, interviewing, follow-up) using real-life examples and role plays. This phase culminates with a celebration of all that they have worked on and accomplished.

Customer Service

Customer Service

After learning the ins and outs of the bakery, it’s time for youth to learn the concepts and skills required to provide exceptional customer service. At the core of this training is a deeper exploration of interpersonal communication, anchored by the CART model: Connect, Ask, Respond, Thank. Role-plays in training allow youth to practice and prepare for the work tasks they will face during internal and external interactions where their customer service skills will be critical in their success. The Cart Captains on each work shift are assigned to coach youth through the experience of their first time serving external customers.

Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy

Around every corner, teens face important financial decisions, yet surveys show that many teens lack everyday economic and financial knowledge. For that very reason, Cookie Cart has partnered with local financial institutions to develop a hands-on curriculum that covers the essential building blocks of personal finance. Our teen employees receive invaluable life training on; budgeting and saving, checking accounts, and credit and credit cards

Credential Learning

National Career Readiness Certification

At Cookie Cart we are proud to offer our teens the chance to take the National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC). This is a certification issued by ACT showing prospective employers that a teen has the foundational skills necessary to be successful in the workplace. The test measures skills employers believe are essential to job success:

  • Applied math
  • Reading for information

  • Locating information

Earning the NCRC is not easy. Youth employees prepare for the assessment with online curriculum and practice exams. Our program staff, with help from community volunteers, provide additional support for our teens through facilitating small group discussions as well as meeting one-to-one with students.

ServSafe Food Handler Certification

The ServSafe Food Handler Certification meets standards set by the Minnesota Department of Health, and shows prospective employers in the restaurant industry that youth staff have received food safety training in the areas of:

  • Personal hygiene
  • Allergens

  • Time and temperature control

  • Cross-contamination

  • Cleaning and sanitation

Goals & Outcomes

2020 Activity Goals
  • 300 teens will be engaged in 45,000 hours of job experience and classroom job readiness training.
  • 150 teens will participate in Foundations soft skills training, customer service, and financial literacy.

  • 105 teens will obtain an industry-recognized credential.

  • 95 teens will engage in Leadership training and will attend Bright Futures career advancement training.

  • 15 teens will work in leadership positions through Cart Advancement Pathways.

Long-term Youth Involvement Outcomes
  • Connectedness to new communities
  • Strengthened future goal orientation
  • Improved interpersonal skills

  • Enhanced critical thinking skills
  • Increased employment readiness skills

Apply for Youth Employment

We are always accepting applications from high school students, 15 to 17 years old, living in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

We only accept applications for youth employment online. 

Apply Now

We are an equal opportunity employer/program provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. 

To check the status of your application, please send an email to the location you applied for. No phone calls, please.
Minneapolis: jobsMPLS@cookiecart.org
Saint Paul: jobsSTP@cookiecart.org

A successfully completed application contains:

  • 2 professional references (examples: teacher, faith leader, coach, or mentor)

  • 3 completed short essay questions

  • Transcript with GPA listed
  • School ID

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