Training and job placement are part of the recipe that Westerly Education Center and Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island are using to generate more qualified workers for the food service industry. The 12-week training program involves classroom and hands-on, in-restaurant instruction, covering such topics as cooking methods, knife cutting, nutrition, and food safety. Following the course, participants will qualify to take two industry food safety and allergen exams. The program also offers job placement services.
"This workforce training program not only helps people with a passion for food skill up, get credentialed, and land great jobs, it's a program that will help restaurants in the tourism-reliant southern part of the state employ qualified workers," says Amy Grzybowski, executive director of the Westerly Education Center.
Partnering with Westerly and Johnson & Wales for this program are Royce Associates and nine restaurants that have committed to offering internships and employment to the adult learners. The Rhode Island-based program is free to participants, thanks to grant support.
"After the first two weeks of instruction, students will benefit from in-restaurant training so they can practice what they are learning in a real-world setting with professional supervision," explains Thomas J. Delle Donne, assistant dean of Johnson & Wales University's College of Food Innovation & Technology. "Importantly, students will also be paid for their work while they learn, so this is an ideal training program for an adult who cannot put life on hold for 12 weeks while earning a postsecondary credential needed for work."