Cookie Cart provides teens with lasting and meaningful work, life, and leadership skills through experience in an urban nonprofit bakery.
In 2013 Cookie Cart will employ 145 youth who will work in the bakery and be in the classroom. Teens are involved in both “hands on” experiential employment and classroom-based training focused on development of “soft skills” needed to find and keep employment.
Cookie Cart’s programming site is a storefront bakery on West Broadway in North Minneapolis. A majority of teens who work at Cookie Cart live within 12 blocks of our building and the rest come from other Minneapolis neighborhoods and the first ring suburbs.
The success of Cookie Cart's program is best represented by the stories of the young people who are a part of the program. Teens like Ivy who started working at Cookie Cart last summer. She smiles as she tells of the day she was hired, “I came in for my interview and was hired on the spot … and was so excited I ran out to the car, jumped in and … “freaked out” for about ten minutes.” Over the summer Ivy was able to work a lot of hours and built up her savings. About mid-summer, Ivy’s mom lost her job. She has had trouble staying employed due to health issues and limited work experience. This time was different because Ivy could help out by using her savings to pay the phone bill and buy groceries. While Cookie Cart is not meant to sustain families, for Ivy and so many youth employees, the reality is that their paycheck sometimes goes to helping to pay the monthly bills.
By working at Cookie Cart, Ivy has gained something her mother didn’t have, a resume listing a great first job as well as a nationally recognized workforce readiness credential. This year, Ivy graduated from Patrick Henry High School this spring and plans to attend Minneapolis Community & Technical College to begin working toward her nursing degree. At Cookie Cart she is getting the foundational skills to make those dreams come true.
Cookie Cart youth employee comments:
"Working at Cookie Cart has been a phenomenal experience I will remember the rest of my life. I will use what I have learned here in my next job. I found courage, myself, and my voice throughout this 2-year journey. I wish in the future that Cookie Cart can be in every state, maybe even in every city."
~ Breeana, age 17
“I learned that you should always have a good attitude and that you should solve your conflicts peacefully.”
~ DeMarcus, age 15
“Working here definitely changed my life in different ways- it taught me how to value my money, how to work with other teens, and it made me more aware of work.”
~ Amy, age 16