Creating a "Culture of Learning" in the Kitchen and Classroom

The need for a cohesive student experience: 

Within culinary job training programs, students interact with chef trainers in the kitchen for instruction and to learn important culinary skills. They are usually paired with a case manager that supports their overall program experience from housing arrangements, soft skills training such as attendance requirements and job readiness, transportation, and more. It is important that all staff members that interact with students are on the same page about student expectations and progress throughout the program to ensure a cohesive experience for trainees. It does not serve a student well if the rules change from classroom to kitchen - this requires strong organizational policy and staff training.

Manna's Problem: 

Catalyst Kitchens client and member Manna on Main Street came to our team with a problem: they needed a more formalized approach to student training for their frontline staff to accommodate their rapid expansion. Their programs were growing quickly - they were hiring more staff members, training more students, and increasing their overall organizational capacity. They sought to create synergy and consistency in how program and operational staff interact with trainees across all programs. 

Our Solution:

Coaching Champions: A 4 hour instructional training course for frontline staff on instructional techniques for student training.

Program Analysis: A full accessment of program communications and staff interactions with students for a holistic examination of student experience. 

Social Enterprise Expansion best practices: change management techniques, how to adjust operations with more staff and separation between programming, and how to train new staff members efficiently.

The Results:

100% graduation rate in 2016 (CK network average graduation rate was 64% in 2016).

Consistent training strategies towards student development. All kitchen experiences and staff interactions are geared towards learning and are coaching-centric. 

Full participation from operations and training staff on extensive review of program standards, common language, and evaluation systems.

Kristyn DiDominick, Program Director

"The training built a shared language amongst us and a strengths-based orientation to instruction and staff leadership. It helped us all gain knowledge together and build a cohesive team prepared to instruct and support adult vulnerable populations."