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 functional competencies such as safety, hygiene, and basic employee rights and responsibilities; along with more nuanced topics such as communication with supervisors and peers, dealing with conflict, and character building.
Cookie Cart’s leadership courses are focused on helping all young people see themselves as leaders or emerging leaders and exploring 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 or mentor, and conflict resolution; along with more advanced communication skills including sales, marketing, and customer service.
These lessons prepare young people to transition out of their positions at Cookie Cart into their next job. Youth are encouraged to think about and explore possibilities, and to look for jobs that are a good fit for their interests, strengths, goals, and values. Each lesson walks participants through part of the job-seeking process using real-life examples and role plays. This phase culminates with a celebration of all that they have accomplished.
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 interactions where customer service skills will be critical in their success. The Cart Captains on each work shift are assigned to coach youth through their first time serving external customers.
Around every corner, teens face important financial decisions; yet surveys show that many teens lack everyday economic and financial knowledge. For that 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, credit, and credit cards.
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. A National Career Readiness Certificate is earned by completing the three WorkKeys Assessments:
- Workplace Documents
- Graphic Literacy
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
Time and temperature control
Cleaning and sanitation
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 develop 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.
Goals and Outcomes
2023 Activity Goals
160 youth will be engaged in 24,000 hours of job experience and classroom job readiness training.
130 youth will participate in Foundations soft skills training, customer service, and financial literacy.
30 youth will engage in Leadership training and will attend Bright Futures career advancement training.
20 youth will obtain an industry-recognized credential.
20 youth 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
So you want to work at Cookie Cart…
The first step is to complete an internship training with our managers before a formal interview process can begin for our Bakery Program. The Internship will be a 90-day commitment of days onsite at Cookie Cart in our training classrooms. Complete this application when you are R-E-A-D-Y to complete our work readiness internship!
We are always accepting applications and begin training new interns during three sessions (Fall, Spring, and Summer). To check the status of your application, please send an email to the location you applied for. No phone calls, please.
Saint Paul: jobsSTP@cookiecart.org
A successfully completed application contains:
- Contact information for us to reach you – email us any updates
Completed short answer questions proving you are R-E-A-D-Y
- Transcript with GPA listed
We are an equal opportunity employer/program provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.