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.

2024 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 2024 Dates

February 19th to March 1st at Vel Phillips Memorial High School

March 11th to 22nd at La Follete High School

April 22nd to May 3rd at West High School

May 6th to 17th at East High School

YBMP 2024 Summer Dates

July 8th to 19th at the Meadowridge Library

July 29th to August 9th at the Pinney Library

*Applications for the summer dates will become available soon.

Common Wealth has served over

youth since 1991 through our award-winning youth programs

Wrap-around mentoring support

Upon successful completion of our training, the real fun begins! After the teen is placed in a real world job, they will receive mentorship from their workplace supervisor and CWD staff that focuses on how to keep and excel in their job. This double mentoring ensures that youth have the support they need to make the most of their employment opportunity and overcome problems that may arise in a first job. 

Financial Literacy Workshops

In addition to our Youth-Business Mentoring Program, we hold Employment and Financial Literacy Workshops at schools and other community agencies. These workshops can be specifically tailored to meet the needs of a unique group and adapted to a timeline that supports youth’s schedules. Recent workshops have included topics such as resume development, financial literacy education, and post-secondary pathway planning. Each workshop varies based on scheduling needs but often includes hour-long sessions across three to eight weeks.

Workshops can include: 

Employment Skills Training: learning how to Tackle Job Searches and Applications

The pre-employment portion of our workshops takes the mystery out of job hunting and reveals secrets of impressive job applications. We perform mock interviews that help students learn how to answer typical interview questions. This opportunity for preparation focuses on strengthening students’ skills and giving them the confidence to apply and interview successfully for their first job.

Financial Literacy training: cultivating Wisdom with Money

The financial literacy component of our workshops can help youth understand how to maximize their paycheck once they start earning. 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 annually partnered with the City of Madison to provide 25 – 50 Madison youth the opportunity to work a paid summer internship program with on-the-job placements. The program’s namesake, Wanda Fullmore, grew up in Madison, graduated 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 how this program continues to incorporate Madison youths’ voices in the long-term planning and visioning of the City. 

Initiated by Mayor Paul Soglin, this program’s initial aim was to expose Madison Youth – particularly BIPOC youth – to employment opportunities with the City of Madison, with the hopes that some would eventually return as permanent staff. Since then, the program has evolved into a premier experiential learning opportunity, providing youth exclusive access to real-time projects and activities City departments are actively working on, while also providing paid structured internship opportunities, replete with a rigorous professional development curriculum. 

More than an Internship

The Wanda Fullmore Internship Program offers an opportunity for City of Madison Youth to spend 8-weeks in a paid summer internship that provides the opportunity to learn more about employment with the City of Madison. However, interns do more than work for 8 weeks. They receive mentorship 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. 

In 2023, youth will work an average of 16 hours per week. That time will be divided amongst professional development training, in-person work at their job placement, and additional community development and engagement projects. Youth will also come together to build their peer-to-peer connections and step into leadership roles. Once accepted into the program, youth 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 2024 Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Applications open on January 16th, 2024 through March 22nd, 2024. To be eligible for the Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Program in 2024, youth must have a City of Madison address OR be enrolled in an MMSD school, and be, at minimum, 14 years of age. If you have any questions regarding this opportunity, or would like to receive future recruitment information, please contact Samantha Heim at or 608-620-7934.

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