How it Works

STL Youth Jobs builds strong and vibrant communities by investing in our greatest asset – our youth. We engage the unemployed youth talent in target neighborhoods, and connect them to a combination of place-based employment and corporations in high-demand industries in our region. Through a combination of training in financial literacy, workforce preparedness, employment experience, and demand-driven skill-building, we are addressing both the future trajectory of our youth and the growing skills gap in our region. STL Youth Jobs is an innovative collaboration of St. Louis City’s Mayor’s office, private foundations, area nonprofits, and corporations who are passionate about the future economic prosperity of our region.


Youth Recruitment and Training

We partner with MERS Goodwill, who recruits youth from target neighborhoods with high youth unemployment rates. MERS Goodwill then partners with other community organizations to provide financial literacy, workforce preparedness, and critical skill-building to youth in the program. In our 2013 pilot, we raised enough funding to employ 200 youth. We had over 1000 apply. Youth are then paired with a job coach who supports them throughout the summer and beyond to provide critical support, real-time feedback, and assistance in retaining or obtaining employment once the summer program is completed.

Target Neighborhoods

locations-cropWe have identified core neighborhood clusters in the city of St. Louis that rank high on a variety of factors including a high youth unemployment rate, high incidence of youth violence, and a high percentage of youth living below the poverty level. We recruit employers from these neighborhoods to provide place-based employment opportunities for our youth, and mitigate the challenge of transportation in youth getting to and from job sites.


MERS Goodwill interviews each youth to determine their interest and skillset, and then connects them to a combination of place-based employment and corporations in high-demand industries in our region. We partner with employers who can provide meaningful employment experience, training, and support, and who have a strong interest in supporting our youth to become job-ready individuals. Meaningful employment is paid work experience with quality supervision, a well-designed learning plan, and connections to supportive services, particularly positive youth development and mentoring activities. Employers provide meaningful work experience, and STL Youth Jobs subsidizes their pay through partnerships with corporations and private foundations. Click here if you’re interested in hiring youth.

Summer Employment

Youth are employed for 8-week paid positions throughout the summer. Each youth has an assigned job coach who provides support to both the youth and the employer to ensure that the experience is fruitful for all. Following the summer experience, some employers choose to retain youth as a continued part of their team. Where this is not a viable option, our job coaches provide support to help youth find alternate positions.


$2000 = 1 job. For every $2,000 we raise, we are able to provide 1 youth with valuable training and meaningful employment experience, and build the future of our workforce one youth at a time. Click here to invest in the future of our workforce.

Funding is provided through a combination of foundation partners, funding support from St. Louis City’s Mayor’s Office, and corporate partners who are passionate about investing in the future of our workforce and the economic prosperity of our region. Learn more about funding partners here.

We are actively seeking corporate partners who wish to make a sustained and significant impact in the future economic prosperity of our region. If your company invests in workforce development, economic inclusion, or youth development, please contact us about powerful partnership opportunities.

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