About OFS

Our Vision: All youth ages 16-24 are assets in our community.

Our Mission: Operation Fresh Start provides disconnected youth a path to self-sufficiency.

A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Operation Fresh Start has provided comprehensive employment and training services to over 8,000 youth and adults in Dane County, Wisconsin since 1970.


Operation Fresh Start (OFS) provides a path forward for disconnected youth in Dane County, ages 16-24, through education, mentoring, and employment training. OFS leads youth to completing their high school degree (after having previously dropped out) and continuing on to higher education and/or self-sustaining employment. 

OFS is best known for its core Pathways program. Pathways’ chief training approach is to renovate or construct single family houses for sale to low and very-low income first-time home buyers or do extensive conservation work (improving Dane County parks). The housing and conservation sites are the vehicles for employment training and are at the center of a comprehensive program of educational and support services. Instruction in basic skills and preparation for the high school equivalency examination, instruction in independent living skills, leadership development, counseling, pre-employment skills training, placement in a job or post-secondary education, and supportive follow-up are vital components of the program.

In recent years, we have diversified our programming to serve more young people ages 16-24. New programs, such as Options, Strive and Grad Crew help fulfill OFS’ mission of providing disconnected youth a path to self-sufficiency.