Metropolitan State University created its School, Youth & Family Outreach Program in 1994 to provide programming efforts that would facilitate the success of inner-city youth in educational activities while providing university students the opportunity to work with youth. As a community-based urban university, Metropolitan State has a responsibility to assist young people who attend inner-city public schools to pursue post-secondary education and career development. Reaching young people as early as possible and directing them effectively toward educational goals and career preparation is the best way to avoid social problems that they increasingly face in their teenage years.

Annually through School, Youth and Family Outreach, the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES), co-sponsors events, programs, youth leadership training and projects that benefit youth, their families and serve community-defined needs, while providing opportunities for university students, faculty and staff to interact with young people.  These include: National Youth Services & Earth Day projects with Dayton's Bluff Elementary; Minnesota College Goal, a statewide program that provides free information and assistance to students and families who are applying for financial aid for postsecondary education; and other cultural events like the Qhia Dab Neeg Film Festival, co-sponsored with the Asian Student Organization (ASO) and partner In Progress, that provides Hmong artists a platform in which their stories can be heard.