In late 2009, Billings Forge Community Works initiated a 12 week, on-the-job paid training program to prepare Hartford residents with barriers to work for employment in the culinary field. Our job training program emphasizes real world experience and prepares its graduates with kitchen, sanitation, and customer service skills which will benefit any establishment, including those in high-end markets. The program successfully placed all of the members from its inaugural group of trainees, with only one exception: a new parent who postponed joining the workforce until she has adjusted to her new role as a mother! All trainees were placed in jobs paying 125-150% of minimum wage, with potential to grow with their employers into higher paying positions with increasing responsibility. Since that first cohort, Billings Forge has gone on to train 20- 24 individuals yearly in the culinary field with each class achieving the same success for themselves and their families.
BUTLER FAMILY FUND HELPS BFCW WITH JOBS RESEARCH
Thanks to generous funding from the Butler Family Fund, Billings Forge Community Works has just completed research resulting in the development of a strategy to increase the starting wages of culinary job trainees with multiple barriers to employment. This project has been critical as we seek to increase our trainees’ self-sufficiency and improve the long-term results of our job training program. We expect this report will provide guidance and practical advice for similar programs that aim to help their participants win and keep living-wage jobs.