Youth Employment

Youth-Business Mentoring Program (YBMP)

Job training and placement for 14-17 year olds

Helping teens enter the job market

Common Wealth Development has been supporting area teens with training and enriching first job experiences since 1991. With the current economic climate, the unemployment rate for the nation’s teens is approximately triple that of adults. Our Youth-Business Mentoring Program helps level the playing field.

Job placement follows 2-week training

Our Youth-Business Mentoring Program provides youth an intensive two-week pre-employment training, followed by a job placement with a supportive business. We begin by teaching teens how to effectively find, apply for, and interview for jobs.

2023 Application

To apply, a youth must submit a youth application and have their parent or guardian submit the permission form. The links to the forms can be found on our website:

Once applications are submitted, a staff member will follow up with the applicant to discuss next steps. While we do accept applications on a rolling basis, there are specific deadlines applications must be turned in by to attend a specific training session.


Any questions can be directed to:

Ashley Hoeft, Director of Workforce Development
(608) 620-7862 or

YBMP 2023Dates

  • LaFollette High School – 2/6 – 2/17
  • West High School – 3/6 – 3/17
  • Memorial High School – 4/17 – 4/28
  • East High School – 5/8 – 5/19

Common Wealth has served over

youth since 1991 through our award-winning youth programs

Wrap-around mentoring support

After a teen successfully completes our training, the real fun begins! We place participants in a real-world job and, together with their workplace supervisor, our staff mentor program participants during their job placements, focusing on how to keep and excel in a job once they have one. This double mentoring ensures a youth has the support he or she needs to make the most of their employment opportunity and overcome problems that may arise in a first job.


In addition to our Youth-Business Mentoring Program, we hold Employment and Financial Literacy Workshops at schools and other community agencies. This allows these organizations to provide their students with a broader curriculum and lets us teach more youth the basics of employment and finances.

Employment Skills: Tackling Job Search and Applications

The pre-employment portion of our workshops takes the mystery out of job hunting and reveals secrets of impressive job applications. Mock interviews allow students to learn how to answer typical interview questions. We focus on strengthening their skills and giving them the confidence to apply and interview successfully for their first job

Financial Literacy: Wisdom with Money

The financial literacy component of our workshops then helps youth understand how to maximize their paycheck once they start earning one. We teach them the basics of saving and budgeting, help them understand financial institutions, and discuss some big mistakes to avoid.

Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Program

Since 2014, Common Wealth has partnered with the City of Madison annually to provide 25 Madison youth the opportunity to work a paid summer internship program with on-the-job placements. Initiated by Mayor Paul Soglin, this program aims to diversify the City of Madison staff to represent the residents they work for and represent more accurately. The program’s namesake, Wanda Fullmore, grew up in Madison, graduating from Vel Phillips Memorial High School, and spent her career as an employee in the Mayor’s Office. Her passion for supporting the community and building lasting relationships has inspired this program’s continued development to incorporate Madison youths’ voices in the long-term planning and visioning of the City.

More than an Internship

Wanda Fullmore interns do more than work for 8 weeks. They receive mentoring support from Common Wealth Development staff, complete professional development trainings, and lend their perspectives and vision to a real-world City development project, as their capstone accomplishment. This program is a unique opportunity for Madison youth to form valuable connections, gain exposure to different career paths, boost their resume, and represent the voice of Madison youth.

This year, youth will work an average of 16 hours per week, that time being divided amongst professional development training, time working in-person at their placement, and time working on community development and engagement projects. Youth will also come together to build their peer-to-peer connections and step into leadership roles. Youth who are accepted into the program will receive a Chromebook to use during the program and keep upon program end, as well as a bus pass to assist with getting to and from internship activities. Interns are also automatically enrolled to earn elective school credits through MMSD’s Experiential Learning program for their work throughout the summer.

All accepted youth work in-person placements, some based in City of Madison departments or divisions, and others directly with Common Wealth Development. Some recent examples of departments or divisions that have hosted Wanda Fullmore interns in the past have included: Parks Division, Engineering Division, City Attorney’s Office, Madison Public Library Central branch, Information Technology Department, Madison Police Department Community Outreach and Resource Education (CORE) Unit, Warner Park Recreation Center, Public Health, and Finance and Purchasing Department.


The 2023 Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Program applications officially open on January 17th, 2023 at 9:00am, and close on Friday, March 24th, 2023 at 5:00pm. To be considered a complete application, interested applicants must submit a Youth Application, a guardian must submit a Parent/Guardian Application, and the interested student must attend one open interview session before applications close on March 24th. A list of open interview dates is outlined in the Youth Application.

Youth Application

Parent/Guardian (English)

Parent/Guardian (Spanish)

If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact Ashley Hoeft, or (608) 620-7862.



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