In late 2009, Billings Forge Community Works initiated a six-month, on-the-job training program to prepare low-income residents for work in fine dining establishments. Our job training program emphasizes real world experience and prepares its graduates with first-class customer service skills that will benefit any establishment, including those in high-end markets. Job trainees learn to understand the rhythms and realities of fine dining environments, as well as this importance of dressing appropriately, communicating professionally, and arriving to work on time. The program successfully placed all of the members from it 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.
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.