A nonprofit youth training wage for St. Paul

A nonprofit youth training wage for St. Paul

As leaders in the Twin Cities Nonprofit Youth Training programs, we support a thoughtful increase in the employment wage which we believe will promote economic security and an increased quality of life in our communities. We also support the certification of Youth Training Programs that provide a curriculum that includes social/emotional development, community engagement and work ready skills building. There are approximately 50 nonprofit youth programs using the “earn to learn” Youth Training model and who employ 3,000 youth per year in the Twin Cities, about half of them are in St. Paul.

We support the inclusion of a Youth Training Wage as recommended in the Citizens League Report of August 2018.

Importantly, the Study Committee understood that building career competencies, nurturing soft skills, and successfully working towards a career plan simply cannot be accomplished in 90 days. This is why the final report from the Citizens League demonstrates that this was an issue that the Study Committee took extra consideration around. At the end, 77% of the committee members supported 180 day exemption for youth in these unique programs. Additionally, 62% of committee members supported a 365 day exemption.

A St. Paul Nonprofit Training Wage for at least 180 days at 85% of the Prevailing Wage

  • For youth in St. Paul certified nonprofit training programs, we support a distinctive youth training wage. Nonprofit youth training programs commonly serve youth ages 14-24, and focus a significant portion of their paid time using an evidence-based “earn and learn” model. This model integrates work readiness, social-emotional skills, community engagement, and career mentoring. This model works well with youth who are from low-income neighborhoods and who face multiple barriers to employment.
  • Other municipal sources of revenue must be developed to  support a pipeline of talent needed by local industry. Nonprofit “earn and learn” programs will, on average,  see a 40% increase in youth wage costs by 2020. The unintended consequences of these significant cost increases will be a reduction in the number of low-income youth served.
  • The Minneapolis Ordinance that provides for a 90-day training wage for youth training programs at 85% of the prevailing wage is insufficient for long-term training programs. It does not recognize the developmental needs or environmental factors of teens employed in these non-profit youth training programs. St Paul is looking at 180-days and we support that.

It should be noted that youth who are hired as managers or youth workers are paid the prevailing wage.  

These recommendations are from the Citizens League Report of August 2018 (page 23-24) as summarized below:


Summary: The following YSE “earn and learn” cohort supports (1) Citizens League Aug 2018 recommended Scenario 2, a certification process and requirements that can be amended if needed,  (2) an exploration for replacement municipal funds to support training of these youth for local industry and entrepreneurial business ventures.

Call to Action:

Please Call St. Paul City Council Members with smiles, praise and tremendous positivity. Thank you for including the Youth Training Wage for 180 days of training or more in the pending sustainable wage. We believe that we are providing entry-level skills training in the three major areas demanded from industry: social/emotional youth development (confidence, trust and initiative), community engagement (leadership, mentoring and connections) and workforce readiness skills (working in teams, working with a supervisor, and understanding workplace requirements).  We are the foundational organizations to create pipelines of 21st century talent to propel  our regional economic growth.

Note: This statement is also available as a letter.



Joan Linck, Director of Strategic Development

651-292-3203, joan@compas.org


Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

Melissa Cuff, Director of Development, Marketing

And Communications




Cookie Cart

Matt Halley, Executive Director

(612) 843-1946 or mhalley@cookiecart.org

Dream of Wild Health

Diane Wilson, Executive Director

612-874-4200, diane@dreamofwildhealth.org

Elpis Enterprises

Paul Ramsour, Executive Director

651-644-5080, paul@elpisenterprises.org



Mike Wynne, Executive Director

612-529-9237, wynnem@emerge-mn.org


Keystone Community Services

Randy Treichel, Enterprise Director

(651) 659-0613 Ext. 5, randy@exbike.org  

Keystone Community Services

Chris Ohland, Director of Youth Services

(651) 659-0613 ext.3, cohland@keystoneservices.org

Lakes Center for Youth and Families

Matt Howard, Executive Director

651-464-3685, Matt.Howard@lc4yf.org


McNeely Foundation

Maggie Arzdorf-Schubbe


Zachary Robinson, Executive Director

612-821-6390, zach@spark-y.org


Sundance Family Foundation

Peg Thomas, Executive Director

(612) 822-8580 or info@sundancefamilyfoundation.org

The Sanneh Foundation

Aron Taylor, Camps and Athletic Director

(651) 501-6343 or ataylor@thesannehfoundation.org


Tree Trust

Kim Lawler, Director of Development & Communications

(952) 767-3881 or Kim.lawler@treetrust.org


Urban Arts Academy

Tamar Ghidalia, Executive Director

612-827-1641, tghidalia@urbanartsacademy.org


Urban Boatbuilders

Mark Hosmer, Executive Director

651-644=9224 marc@urbanboatbuilders.org


Urban Roots

Lori Arnold, Executive Director

(651) 228-7073 or larnold@urbanrootsmn.org

Urban Strategies

Elana Dahlberg, Associate Project Manager-

Green Garden Bakery



Wilderness Inquiry

Greg Lais, Executive Director