Recently, Susan and I traveled to Los Angeles to see culinary workforce training programs in action. The visit to LA Kitchen was fantastic! Robert Egger, staff and students were gracious hosts. It was day one for Class VI and we had the privilege to spend it with them, including my favorite – family meal! Listening to participants share their backgrounds and why they were there in the class was inspirational and full of hope.
One young man was on his second tour with a fervent determination to complete the program this time around. There were even two students who had lived a short time in Nebraska! Ken, Director of Culinary Job Training, shares quotes with students regularly. Here are two from our visit last week: “Man dies from lack of discipline” and “I am not who I could be, I am not who I should be, But I am not who I was.” So fitting for the transformation of the participants who will emerge from this life-changing program. After 14 weeks of engagement they will join the previous five classes as alumni and continue their success of 100% job placement. LA Kitchen reveals the power of food to transform both participants and recipients.
We also visited Homeboy Industries to see the impactful work of Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest, and his staff. Connie led our tour. Her story was so powerful and relatable to both adults and teens. An honor student in high school but no guidance to do more with her skills and talent, she turned to the streets to earn a living. After years of living hard, she found her way back to Homeboy Industries and is making a difference in the lives of others while she improves her own. Homeboy Industries has several program lines and revenue streams. After the tours, speaking with staff, and the bookstore visit (they do their own screenprinting too), lunch at Homegirl Cafe was the perfect finish to the visit. Authentic dishes with fresh, local ingredients and excellent customer service from program participants – dining with a purpose tasted really good!
With the food hub under construction and on schedule with Slate Architecture and TAS Construction, our first class is set to start in September 2016. We look forward to providing the same opportunities right here in Omaha.
To learn more about the food hub, click here. If you like the impact of the food hub programs, contact us. We would love to give you a tour and see how we can help you achieve your mission! Click here to support immediately and help us earn the $250,000 match from Peter Kiewit Foundation.