Youth Apprenticeship Program

The Youth Apprenticeship Program for 2019 is now complete.

About the Youth Apprenticeship Program

Cycles for Change hires youth apprentices in St. Paul through Right Track and in Minneapolis through STEP UP.  If you have questions about our youth apprenticeship program, please contact Program Coordinator, Gunther Melander, at [email protected].

Cycles for Change’s Youth Apprenticeship program works with high school-aged young people to build the next generation of self-empowered community leaders and cyclists. Young people learn bike mechanics, support Open Shop programs, and help build vibrant, equitable bicycling communities within the Twin Cities through paid positions. Cycles for Change is grounded in the power of collaborative spaces and honoring diverse voices, and our Youth Apprenticeship reflects this ethos by co-creating platforms where young people’s voices are integrated in program development. Youth work alongside adult mentors to learn bike mechanics, movement building, community engagement, and college-ready professional skills. We believe that by working with young people to increase their expertise in bike mechanics and knowledge of how bicycle advocacy intersects with social justice, young people will be more equipped to pass along knowledge and build stronger, more equitable communities for future generations.


Over the course of a full year, youth are trained in bicycle mechanics and basic workplace readiness skills. During the summer training sessions young people have the opportunity to learn about possible career pathways in within the growing bicycle industry, government, and other hands-on trades such as construction or auto mechanics. The Youth Apprenticeship program is often a first job for young people that invests in their development and success while supporting them in their journey towards a future that excites them.

Beyond providing basic job training, the Youth Apprenticeship trains the next generation of bicycle and community leaders. We believe in creating spaces that uplift young people to reach their full potential as leaders and become advocates for positive social change. Our young people are the carbon atom of a more socially just and equitable future. Bicycles are the catalysts for an equitable social and cultural shift. Traditionally the bicycle industry has not accurately represented the cultural and socio-economic diversity of our communities. This program creates spaces to honor the voices and power of presence that women, trans, femme and gender nonconforming peoples; black, Indigenous, and people of color; and youth have within the bicycle movement.


Youth Apprentices in the News

5/8/17, Youthprise: Youthprise Visits… Cycles for Change

7/18/16, F.R. Bigelow Foundation Blog: Building Bikes, Building Careers

6/9/16, KSTP: Local Bike Shop Helping Kids Fix Bikes and Improve Job Skills

5/26/16, WCCO: Looking Ahead to the Youth Bike Summit

Youth Bike Summit 2016

Cycles for Change hosted the 2016 Youth Bike Summit in St. Paul at Macalester College the weekend of May 27-29!

This annual, 3-day conference brought together over 300 youth and adults from across the country and internationally to discuss how the bicycle is a vehicle for social change.

Friday night events included sign-making, open mic performances, and a performance from local musician Maria Isa. Saturday keynote speakers included 8-80 Cities founder Gil Penalosa, C4C’s own youth apprentices Jaquelin Palestino and Robert Skipper, KidWorks Santa Ana youth Maribel Mateo and Tony Gatica, and NAACP-Minneapolis president Nekima Levy-Pounds. We had 25 workshops covering topics of youth leadership councils, fundraising strategies, starting bike clubs, and even mural and video making!

On Saturday afternoon, we had an all-YBS Slow Roll bike ride through the streets of St. Paul!

This is event was made possible through generous sponsorship from our Title Sponsor the Center for Prevention Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, as well as Minnesota Department of Transportation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Planet Bike,, Bicycle Habitat, JBI Bike, The Hub Bike Co-op, QBP (Quality Bicycle Products), Patagonia, Merrill Corporation, Dero Bike Racks, Adventure Cycling Association, Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, Three Rivers Park District, Pro Gold Lubricants, REI, Visit Saint Paul, Momentum Magazine, and of course Macalester College!