Donate

Youth Employment Academy

Supporting YEA is a concrete way to make a real impact on a young person's life. YEA is committed to breaking the cycle of generational poverty in Denver communities by providing programming in education, arts, technology, employment training & mentorship--enabling personal and economic stability.

More Information

Fundraising Pages

Want to do more for your favorite charity? We’ve made it easy for you to raise money by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a fundraiser Current fundraisers for this charity (0)

Overview of Youth Employment Academy

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Male Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations

Description

YEA's mission is to serve young adults in breaking the cycle of generational poverty in Denver communities by gaining personal and economic stability through education and employment training.

HISTORY

In 2007, the Youth Employment Academy (YEA) was established at Denver Housing Authority to provide specific opportunities in education and employment for low-income youth and young adults ages 14-21 in the Denver metro area. Partnering with the City and County of Denver Office of Economic Development Youth Services, among other agencies, YEA provided services to underserved youth that guided them to graduate from high school, earn their GED, earn industry specific certificates, attend post-secondary education, receive hands-on job training and become employed.

Beginning in 2009, YEA observed that many of the youth we served were lacking in skills and job training needed in specific demand driven industries. We noted that many youth, if they did graduate from high school, were funneled to college, ill-prepared and then dropped out and/or had little knowledge about career paths that were open to them - wasting their financial aid funding. In addition, with the recession, youth were not being hired for entry level jobs that were previously open to them. Young adults that had dropped out or were facing other barriers such as being an English language learner, a young parent or having a criminal record were provided even fewer opportunities for their future. YEA addressed these issues by working with area employers in the culinary/hospitality and healthcare fields and developing industry-specific academies (the Pre-Professional Occupations in Healthcare Academy and Culinary Academy) to provide intensive career exploration and hands-on training in order that youth might become employed or move into the next level of post-secondary education needed for their career. YEA then added a Customer Service Academy in 2012 and an Advanced Manufacturing/Engineering Academy in 2013. In addition, YEA continued to provide intensive mentoring through case management, tutoring, paid work internships and job coaching to address all issues the youth were facing.

In 2012, YEA moved forward and became its own 501 (c) (3). This change allowed YEA to not rely solely on the Denver Housing Authority and government funding and look towards other ways to generate income. Working with our industry partners, YEA saw a need for hands-on training in the culinary industry outside of the classroom. In addition, DHA was in the process in building a vibrant community in the La Alma neighborhood and YEA saw the need there for a healthy, affordable restaurant to bring the community together. In February 2013, the Osage Café opened on the ground floor of the new resident mid-rise for seniors and individuals with disabilities living in public housing. This restaurant with a training kitchen allows for community involvement while training youth in the industry of culinary arts and running a business. We have had a great response from employers who have hired youth who completed the culinary program and who have commented on the excellent training of their new employees.

In 2016 YEA added Arts Street to its programming. Arts Street @ YEA is a job-training program that cultivates low-income and under-served youth into valuable members of the creative workforce needed in the immediate future. It uses the power of arts and technology to engage youth in learning and career development and to nurture leadership, build integrity, and help the community at-large.

In 13 years, YEA has assisted over 3,600 young people in reaching their education and employment goals. With the continued support of DHA and supporters such as you, YEA is in a strong position to continue to grow and assist in building economic self-sufficiency in local neighborhoods so that all might see a prosperous future.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

• YEA serves youth ages 12-24, with 94% in high school at time of enrollment.
• In 2019, 59% of our youth were ages 15-17, 15% ages 12-14 and 26% ages 18-24.
• We served 266 unique youth with 95% classified as low income households.
• Our self-identified gender identity ratio was 51% female, 46% male and 3% non-binary.
• 58% of youth self-identified as Hispanic/Latinx* with 9% identifying as multi-racial, 30% as African American/ Black, 19% as Caucasian, 3% as Native America and 2% Asian American /Hawaiian/ Other Pacific Islander. (*some youth only identified as Hispanic/Latinx and did not identify under any race.)

In 2019 YEA served 251 unique youth with over 15,000 in contact hours to assist them in reaching their their education and employment goals.
Industry Academies
• 226 Youth participated in culinary and creative industries academies
• 90% Completion rate
• 98% of those completing showed an proficiency in entry level industry skills
• 100% of those in culinary completed a national certification in food safety preparation and handling
• 96% of those in high school stayed in school or graduated or those that were drop outs, returned to high school or equivalency program
• 99% of those with a high school diploma or equivalency entered post-secondary education/training and/or became employed

Internships
• 37 youth participated in internships in the culinary and creative industries
• 95% completion rate94% of those in high school stayed in school or graduated or those that were drop outs, returned to high school or equivalency program
• 99% of those with a high school diploma or equivalency entered post-secondary education/training and/or became employed

Mentorship
• 59 youth participated in out of school time mentorship program
• 95% of youth stayed in high school, graduated or entered post-secondary education after semester completion

Youth Employment Academy National Awards:
• National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) National Award of Merit, Osage Café (YEA Social Enterprise) 2014
• National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) National Award of Merit, YEA Advanced Manufacturing/Engineering Program 2014
• NARSAAH Public Housing Youth Program of the Year Award 2010
• National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) National Award of Merit, Youth Employment Academy 2008

Arts Street @ YEA:
Local Awards
• INC Denver Youth Engagement Award by National Association of Housing & Redevelopment organization, 2019
• Launch Internship Partner of the Year by Denver Public Schools' Career Connect/Career Launch Program, 2019
• Best Youth Arts Program in Denver 2017, Westword
• Art Tank, 1st Place Award, Arts Affinity Group 2017
• Art Tank, Audience Choice Award, Arts Affinity Group 2017
• Outstanding Non-Profit Partner by Denver Public Schools' Career Connect/Career 2017
• Innovate for Good Award, Rose Community Foundation, 2015

National Awards:
• National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) National Award of Merit for the Journey 2 Unity Project (Arts Street @ YEA summer academy) (2019)
• National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) National Award of Merit for the Arts Street @ YEA program (2019)
• Our Town Award, National Endowment for the Arts 2015
Coming Up Taller; National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award 2004

Arts Street @ YEA Creative Industries

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Male Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations

Description

Working towards our mission to cultivate and empower low-income and under-served youth into a creative and culturally competent workforce, Arts Street's programs target those who have a creative flare, show them the power of their creativity and provide them with important training so they can apply their talents and knowledge to gain employment. Our current programs encompass a "learn and earn" process, enriched with up-to-date technology for creative industries, creative mentorship, essential life skills and workplace competencies allowing young people to explore new possibilities. Youth earn stipends while learning basic job training and specific arts and technical skills in a 3-step process to prepare them for their career path.

Step 1: CREATIVE EXPLORATION: Through projects connected to real-life situations, youth are introduced to relevant art-based tools and technologies to solve clients' needs. They gain skills in design, drawing, 3-D modeling and printing, graphics, web design, cognitive media, videography, and more.
Step 2: CAREER LINK-UP: Participants receive intensive technology training, learn to connect and apply their creative skills and smarts to potential entry-level jobs in demand-driven industries such as information technology, communications and marketing, and customer service.
Step 3: INTERNSHIP: Supported by our staff as freelancer or business interns, youth become pre-professionals in careers that need arts and technology talents.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Pre- and post-evaluations allow us to see the impact of our programming. We also stay in touch with participants to provide wraparound services throughout their education, including job training, resume building, mentorship and educational support.

In 2019 Arts Street served 218 unique low income youth, ages 12-21. Through creative industry academies 167 youth participated in creative projects such as video production, graphic design, photography and traditional visual arts. The academies saw a 90% completion rate and of those that completed 99% stayed in school or graduated.

Arts Street placed 14 youth in internships throughout the year. Youth were responsible for project management and more intensive creative industry skills training. We had a 93% completion rate with 100% of those youth staying in school or graduating. Of those that graduated, 100% entered post-secondary or became employed.

Through our mentorship program we served 59 youth during out of school hours including after-school, weekends and during school breaks. Youth who participated were eligible to be part of our EntrepreMURALship team and earn incentives. 97% of the youth who participated in our mentorship program stayed in school or graduated.

We also measure social emotional intelligence factors via a survey developed by the National Research Center for the Alliance for Creative Youth Development, of which Arts Street is a member, with results compiled by an outside source.
Some of the key findings from that survey in 2019 included:
• 82% of youth said because of Arts Street they were better at taking responsibility for their actions;
• 96% said because of Arts Street they have more respect for young people of other cultures, race or ethnic groups
• 82% said because of Arts Street they are more aware of careers that interest them.

In addition, that survey measured Arts Street's positive youth development pillars as reported by the youth and compared those findings to national averages.
• Safe & Trusting Environment 96% (national average 80%)
• Supportive & Caring Environment 97% (national average 80%)
• Utilizing Youth as Resources 92% (national average 67%)
• Attractive and Meaningful Activities 84% (national average 73%)

For 2020, we also developed a survey for our summer youth around eco-anxiety and mental health factors. 52% of the youth participants said that their day to day overall stress/anxiety level decrease during the program and 82% said they had learned new coping skills/tools during the program to handle stress and anxiety.

Throughout the year, Arts Street offers five main types of programs: In-School Programming, Skills Intensive Workshops, Creative Industry Academies, Internships and Mentorship. This variety of programming allowed us to connect with students during many different schedules and offer opportunities for workplace readiness to a larger number of youth.

Local Awards
• INC Denver Youth Engagement Award by National Associating of Housing & Redevelopment organization, 2019
• Launch Internship Partner of the Year by Denver Public Schools' Career Connect/Career Launch Program, 2019
• Best Youth Arts Program in Denver 2017, Westword
• Art Tank, 1st Place Award, Arts Affinity Group 2017
• Art Tank, Audience Choice Award, Arts Affinity Group 2017
• Outstanding Non-Profit Partner by Denver Public Schools' Career Connect/Career 2017
• Innovate for Good Award, Rose Community Foundation, 2015

National Awards
• Our Town Award, National Endowment for the Arts 2015
• Coming Up Taller; National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award 2004

www.arts-street.org
Facebook: Arts Street
Instagram: arts_street
Arts Street interns also created websites documenting their work with immigration and environmental issues.
http://journey2unity.weebly.com/
http://artsstreetenvironmental.weebly.com/

Culinary Academy

Class

Food, Agriculture & Nutrition 

Beneficiaries

Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Male Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

In the Culinary Academy, youth start with learning about food safety and healthy cooking. They learn basic knife skills as well as basic culinary skills of measuring, following a recipe, sautéing, roasting and baking. Utilizing the kitchen lab at the Osage Café, they learn about front and back of the house of a restaurant with an introduction to cashiering, hosting, serving, bussing, dish washing and food prep. Youth also hear from area chefs and learn about other education training available and complete an updated resume. Youth are certified in ServSafe recognized by the National Restaurant Association for food handling and preparation safety. Upon completion of the academy some youth are chosen for a paid work internship at the community based Osage Café (www.osagecafe.org) while others are assisted with direct job placement. It has been our experience that youth have been hired over other applicants due to this certificate and their experience in the culinary academy at YEA.

Located at 1099 Osage Street, the Osage Café is situated with easy access points from a nearby RTD light rail station, Denver Housing Authority's (DHA) North and South Lincoln communities, Lincoln Park and other area businesses within the Mariposa district.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Success is based on the completion of the following:
• Demonstration of skill proficiency
• Completion of national certification (ServSafe)
• Completed Resume
• Job Search Assistance
• Internship at the Osage Café

Culinary Academy
In 2019, 59 youth participated in YEA's 45 hour culinary academy training in our social enterprise, the Osage Cafe.
• 90% completion rate
• 98% of youth that completed demonstrated entry level proficiency in industry skills
• 100% earned National Restaurant Association's Serve Safe Food Safety Preparation and Handling Certification
• 94% of those in high school stayed in school or graduated and if a drop out, returned to high school or equivalency program
• 98% of those with a high school diploma or equivalency entered post-secondary education/training or employment

Internships
• 16 youth participated in internship at YEA's social enterprise, the Osage Café
• 94% completion rate
• 93% of those in high school stayed in school or graduated and if a drop out, returned to high school or equivalency program
• 100% of those with a high school diploma or equivalency entered post-secondary education/raining or employment.

Customer Service Academy

Class

Employment 

Beneficiaries

Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Male Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

The Customer Service Academy highlights the many careers where customer service is vital. During this academy students learn entry level sales and service associate skills as a tool to increase awareness of, and improve skills related to, frontline work in the retail environment. In addition they learn what jobs are available in customer service, the education and training needed to get those jobs, and the skills needed to succeed. Students also learn how stores operate and hear from various professionals in the customer service sector. Based on National Retail Federation curriculum, youth may earn a National Professional Certification in Customer Service from the NRF Foundation. Graduates also leave with an updated resume and are either placed in subsidized work internship or assisted with post-secondary education or employment placement.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Completion of The National Professional Certification in Customer Service. This program is endorsed by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world's largest retail trade association. The certification is monitored by an arm of NRF, the NRF Foundation.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.