In the fall of 2017 the first seeds of opportunity were planted when a series of conversations began between The Arc Southern Maryland (SOMD) and another nonprofit, End Hunger in Calvert County. End Hunger had already provided culinary and commercial kitchen management training for individuals in our area who were unemployed or underemployed and then assisted them with career placement.
In the summer of 2018, The Arc SOMD identified four individuals’ culinary/kitchen interests for the café management training program which teaches the skills necessary for working in a cafe, bakery or other hospitality environment. In addition to job skills, the program provides students with the opportunity to develop and grow their life skills, including conflict resolution, interview skills, customer service and more. Our students attended class for six weeks, studied, got to practice in a commercial kitchen and finally took a two-day final exam. We are so proud of this group who all passed their exams and graduated with a National Restaurant Association ServSafe Food Handler Certification.
We are so thankful for this opportunity and we continue to nurture it. On the day of graduation, we received the great news that our local hospital and medical care center, CalvertHealth, wanted our graduates to apply for food service positions and we are ready to watch them bloom!