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Purpose Driven Paychecks for Youth (PDP)

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This RFP is now closed. Thank you for your interest!

The vision of Career Academies at Greater Twin Cities United Way is to unite public education and employment systems so that all students can access wealth building and purpose driven careers.  We do this through convening a community of  practice, providing technical assistance and investing in promising strategies and solutions.

The Purpose Driven Paychecks funding opportunity seeks to fill the gap that exists in our current school-to-employment ecosystem and will invest in partnerships focused on expanding the number and/or quality of career pathways aligned work experiences for young people.

For the 2023-2024 cycle we will award 8-10 grants for a period of 12 months with an average grant sixe of $50,000.  Public schools in partnership with businesses, youth employment organizations, and/or career pathways intermediaries serving students are encouraged to apply.  Funding is available statewide.

Funding Eligibility

Organizations must meet these requirements to be funded: 

  • Your Lead Organization is a 501c3, has a fiscal sponsor who has a 501c3 or is a public school district or charter school. 
  • Your partnership serves youth ages 14-22 with a primary focus on students currently enrolled in high school.  
  • At least 50% of students, as would be supported by these funds, identify as young people furthest from justice:  
    • Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander and/or a Youth of Color 
    • Family income level is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (may use Free and Reduced Lunch data to verify this criteria) 
    • Live with a disability that presents significant barriers to employment 
  • Partnerships must include at least one school district or charter school AND at least one employer partner.1  
  • Partnerships are existing and have a history of working together. 
  • Your public school district or charter school partner has existing career pathways2 through which they are preparing youth for work experiences.  
  • Your partnership’s student work experiences pay at least $12.50 (stipend or hourly) for a minimum of 40 hours per individual student experience.  


For any special considerations related to these criteria, please contact us to determine your eligibility. 


1 Additional partners are welcome and can include youth employment organizations, employer associations, service cooperatives and/or other partners. 

2 Career pathways are defined as a sequence of educational and work experiences aligned with high-wage, high-demand career fields that include access to college credit, rigorous and relevant coursework, and related work experiences.   


Funding Priorities 


These criteria are not required but your partnership will be scored based on how well they meet these criteria. Partnerships that score highest will be most competitive for funding. 

  • Your partnership and use of funds primarily focuses on a population of young people furthest from justice (i.e. Black, Indigenous, Students of Color and/or youth living with disability).
  • Your partnership provides high-quality work experiences for youth OR you plan to work toward high-quality work experiences as part of the grant program. 
  • United Way's Career Academies defines high-quality work experiences aligned with career pathways as latticed and stackable, allowing for youth to advance in one career field or transition to another, increasing in pay or experience. These work experiences should include:  
    • $15/hour starting pay1 and at least 40 hours per experience 
    • student voice in their design 
    • certification or credential 
    • guaranteed employer benefits upon completion of the program (I.e., hiring priority, tuition support, etc.) 
    • employers demonstrating a commitment to youth development (I.e., mentorship, connections to professional networks, etc.) 
  • Your partnership’s work experiences are aligned to high wage, high demand career pathways within your local area. 
  • Your partnership’s career pathways represent student voice in their design. 
  • Your partnership can demonstrate or is working toward a long-term, sustainable approach to high-quality, youth work experiences. 
  • Your partnership is bringing forth creative solutions that have the potential to influence the field of career pathways toward more equitable outcomes for youth. Examples include but are not limited to cross-sector programming (ex. agriculture and business), culturally specific approaches, or multiple touchpoints within the partnership (ex. guest speakers, intern hosts, teacher externships). 

Rubric Breakdown:

Area of Assessment 

% of Total Score 

Student Focus 


Strength and Approach of Partnership 


Sustainability of Work 


Career Pathways Programming 


Quality Youth Work Experiences 




Contact with any questions or set a time to meet virtually with Program Officer, Longkee Vang here: Book time with Longkee Vang

If you do not already have a portal account, please fill out this form to request access (access can take up to 2-3 business days). If you have already had portal access but forgot your password, you can reset online by clicking the Forgot Password button.

In order to make working on the application easier for applicants, we have provided a Word template of the application: Purpose Driven Paycheck Year 2 Application-Word Version.docx

Applicants MUST still submit their applications in the online portal linked above in order to be considered for funding.