Franks training program teaches restaurant skills

A greater focus on community integration and employment sparked a great idea at Franks Adult Center.

Franks recently began the Cafeteria Prep Program, a paid “in-house” training program to teach individuals skills that could easily transfer to a restaurant setting. So far, a handful of people have graduated from the program, and the seventh is currently in training.

“We have purchased supplies for new center pieces for each table in the cafeteria, such as napkins, utensils, cups and pitchers for iced water,” said Mollie Jimmar, the interim director at Franks. “We wanted to make the atmosphere look a lot less like a school cafeteria and more like a restaurant.”

When the individuals’ two-week training is up, they receive a certificate they can attach to their resume when looking for a job in the community.

Sarah McDermott was the first graduate of the training program at Franks.
Sarah McDermott was the first graduate of the training program at Franks.

Sarah McDermott, who has been attending Franks Adult Center on and off for the past 35 years, was the first graduate of the Cafeteria Prep Program. “Every morning I would come in and fill the pitchers up with water and ice,” she said. “I would then put the pitchers in the middle of the tables, along with cups and utensils. I also learned how to run the dishwasher.”

McDermott was selected to pilot this program because she always wanted to help out with special responsibilities. “She learned the set up quickly and took the initiative to report to the cafeteria at the correct time each morning. She also notified the staff of any issues, such as low stock in utensils or dishes that she found dirty,” Jimmar said.

McDermott said she enjoyed being the very first graduate from the program and is eager to learn more skills to help her get a job.

Matthew Wheeler recently completed the Cafeteria Prep Program
Matthew Wheeler recently completed the Cafeteria Prep Program

Matthew Wheeler, the program’s third graduate, said he is grateful for the skills he learned through his training. “I learned how to be more responsible,” he said. “I also learned the importance of being on time and learning from your mistakes.”

Wheeler is very excited to use his skills in the community and would like to get a job at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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