Tools For Life

Program Overview

Tools for Life is MTL's 12-week mentorship program - designed to expose participants to the trades, rebuild fundamental trade skills and knowledge within our community, and serve as a stepping stone for traditional apprenticeship programs. Through classes, hands-on workshops, mentorship, and service; the Tools for Life cohort will learn about and explore a variety of trades - becoming familiar with some of the core tools, techniques, projects, and career pathways that exist.

As an organization whose programming focuses on empowering each other through sharing tools and trade skills, we see a continued need for more accessible avenues for trades exploration and learning.  Many clases offered to the community through folkschools, makerspaces, individual artisans, and local businesses are cost-prohibitive. Workforce development programs in the trades are often limited to participants within targeted demographics, and association-based programming can be intimidating for newcomers (especially those outside the group's demographic norms). Traditional trade school and apprenticeship offerings are often targeted at young adults, intensive, and require participants to identify and pursue a specific career track before getting a chance to try on a few different hats. At the Tool Library we've seen the impact that exposure to tools, trade skills, and peer-mentorship can have on an individual's interest in and comfort with pursuing a DIY project. Our inclusive pre-apprenticeship program takes a multi-disciplinary, hands-on, and collaborative approach to address the current limitations in trades education - providing a broad foundation for DIY'ers, unlicensed handy people in the gig economy, and those wanting a bit more experience under their toolbelt before pursuing a trade.     

Program Details

  • The program will run from March 18th through June 9th 2024.
  • Core instructional hours are Thursdays & Fridays from 11AM-2PM.
  • Limited alternate & optional class/workshop hours will be available during evenings or weekends to offer flexibility for those who can’t attend all Th/F sessions.
  • Participants are expected to engage in 12-16 hours of programming per week, for 12 weeks.
    (6 hours of core on-site instruction, 1-2 hours of e-learning, 3+ hours of service, and 2+ hours of flex activities)
  • Participants will recieve free training (valued at over $1,000), OSHA 10 certification, and a year-long membership to the MN Tool Library!

MARCH's Cohort has been selected.
Applications are temporarily closed.

Application Process

Are you a current or aspiring handy person wanting to gain more skills and knowledge? 
Whether you want to start a career in the trades, try something new, or simply become a well-rounded DIYer: Our Tools for Life program might just be the perfect fit. Join us at our St. Paul branch for weekly sessions where you'll explore carpentry, plumbing, electrical, masonry, and more!  Take advantage of community-ed style classes, informal skillsharing, hands-on workshops, and peer-mentoring to build your toolbox.

Interested? APPLY NOW! 
All are welcome; older adults, women, and BIPOC individuals are especially encouraged to apply.

Please contact with any questions.



I'm a tradesperson and would like to be a mentor/instructor for this program. Is that possible?
Absolutely! We welcome anyone interested in teaching the fundamentals of what they do, leading simple projects alongside Tool Library staff, and/or talking about their own journey in the trades. All we ask is that you’re able to work with a variety of people and skill sets, and available to share your skills in at least one 1-3 hour session. Interested? Send us an email at to get involved.

What does the program cost?
There is no cost for participants, other than the investment of their time.

What do participants recieve?
The program provides complimentary training, certification, and an annual membership to the tool library - an estimated value of $1200+.  In addition, it maintains a professional development scholarship fund to help underwrite the costs of targeted bonus activities that correspond to our curriculum and are offered by outside organizations.  We do not offer a formal stipend or paid work experience; though we are looking for funding to offer these options in the future for increased accessibility and equity.


THANK YOU!  This program is made possible through the generosity of the following program partners: