YouthCare’s Barista program is an eight-week training program that helps young people gain the skills needed to thrive on a team, engage with customers, and rock job interviews—all while learning how to make expertly crafted drinks. After two weeks at YouthCare’s Orion Center, students spend the remaining six weeks inside the FareStart Café in The 2100 Building, gaining real-world experience by opening and closing the cafe, preparing food and drinks, and working busy rushes. The program prepares youth with the skills they need to gain meaningful employment after graduating, including food handler certification and a polished resume to start their job search. It’s a recipe that works: 75% of youth obtain employment within 180 days of graduating.
Each Barista cohort brings together a unique group of young people with incredible potential. This particular group included coffee lovers, gaming enthusiasts, and quite a few Harry Potter fanatics! When the team took a vote on what they should be called, they aptly chose “Espresso Patronum,” a play on words that honors a famous Harry Potter charm. We are so proud of this brilliant group and can’t wait to see what’s next for them!
“I can’t believe just eight weeks ago, I didn’t even know what a latte was,” said one student. “But in the course of eight weeks, I learned how to make everything from an Italian soda to a caramel macchiato. Not only did I learn the hard skills needed in the café—but I also learned soft skills like communicating with customers and coworkers to make everything run smoothly.”
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