Youth Employment Academy

A nonprofit organization

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.

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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, arts and technology and employment training. YEA reaches this mission through its industry academies, internships, social enterprises and mentorship and well-being programs.

“I love the opportunities they provide. Arts Street has helped me grow in almost every way possible: artistically, mentally, and financially. I now feel more confident in myself and my skills.” Arts Street Youth Participant

Background Statement

"This was the best experience I received in my almost 3 years of high school, can't express enough the growth I feel I received from learning things I never thought I would." Erica, age 16, YEA Participant

Since 2007, the Youth Employment Academy (YEA) has served over 5,000 youth in reaching their education, employment and personal goals. We have developed and implemented programming that brings job readiness training as well as specific occupational skill development to underserved youth ages 14-24 while also providing wrap around services such as mental wellness resources. Working in low-income, public housing communities, YEA is committed to building and strengthening the local economies while training our participants with real skills that lead to higher education, better jobs and building equity in our most marginalized communities.

YEA began as program of the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) providing industry academies in culinary, healthcare, customer service and more. In 2012, YEA became a stand-alone 501(c)3 non-profit while continuing its strong partnership with DHA. In 2013 YEA opened its first social enterprise, the Osage Café where youth train in the culinary arts in an operating restaurant. YEA acquired Arts Street in 2016 and its award winning programming in arts and technology to further enhance and expand its offerings to youth. In 2021 YEA opened another social enterprise, Decatur Fresh Market, an international market operating in the Sun Valley neighborhood bringing healthy foods to the area and training youth in customer service. YEA remains flexible in creating new programming and listening to the needs of our youth participants so that we can provide the most opportunities in the most impactful way.

Impact 2022

In 2022, YEA served 282 young adults ages 13-24 with 90% self reporting as BIPOC and 97% reporting as low-income. We had 227 youth complete industry academies in culinary, customer service and the creative industries with 93% showing an increase in industry skills and 98% staying in high school or graduating 3 months after completion. We placed 31 youth in paid internships. and had 128 unique youth complete mental wellness workshop in our mentorship program with 92% saying they had learned a new skill to cope with challenges. 100% of the youth in our mentorship & internship program stayed in high school or graduated.

Organization Data


Organization name

Youth Employment Academy

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Youth Development

Organization Size

Medium Organization


1089 Osage St.
Denver, CO 80204


1035 Osage St.
Denver, CO 80204


Osage Cafe & Mercado 1015 Osage St.
Denver, CO 80204


Arts Street@YEA 1079 Osage St.
Denver, CO 80204


Osage Kitchen 1099 Osage St.
Denver, CO 80204


Decatur Fresh Market 995 Decatur Street
Denver, CO 80204

Service areas

Denver County, CO, US



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