Champions for Youth: Shining A Light on Catalyst Kitchens Youth Programming
There are 4.9 million young people in America between 16-24 years old who are out of school or not working. That’s 1 in 7 young people that are disconnected from our economy. At the same time, we know that early employment experiences give youth exposure to the workplace and can set young people on a path towards a living wage career.
To address this gap, soft skills development such as team work, communication, timeliness, and patience are all a major focus of youth development programming and are essential for success in future employment. Developing good habits in a safe, supportive environment can change the course of a young person's career path. For the Catalyst Kitchens network, that environment is the kitchen. Our model focuses on workforce development in foodservice to help create pathways for individuals with barriers to employment. Chef trainers, front line staff, and program managers working in Catalyst Kitchens member programs act as champions for youth success by demonstrating how to make change through hard work and perseverance.
This work, of course, is anything but simple. Students come into programs with their own backgrounds and experiences that can dictate their behavior during the training program. Youth programs face different challenges than adult programs as students may manage difficult home lives, could be juggling high school or college courses, and have higher potential for conflict with fellow students.
We are hosting a Youth and Young Adult Training Workshop in May specifically designed for youth programs to connect and strengthen their skills to prepare students to enter the workforce. The workshop is designed for program leaders, staff working directly with students, and foodservice managers to gain a better understanding of their student's needs and how to measure success for Catalyst Kitchens programs.
Workshop session topics include:
Defining Successful Outcomes for Youth
Success looks different for each student. It may involve reunification with a family member, stabilized housing, a return to formalized schooling, or ultimately employment. This session will explore how organizations define success, how this influences program operations, and implementation practices for sound tracking methods.
Addressing Race, Ethnicity, & Conflict Resolution
Students enter into these programs with preconceived notions about their place in the world and views regarding their cultural and socioeconomic background. This session will address how to discuss race and ethnicity with young people and provide conflict resolution skills for their personal and work life.
Trauma Informed Care Practices
We know that students manage various forms of trauma while in training, ranging from familial abandonment to substance abuse and domestic violence. It is important for instructors and case managers to be prepared to manage difficult situations that can arise with this student population and provide appropriate interventions to support emotional growth. Our hosts, Liberty’s Kitchen and Café Reconcile, will outline how they incorporate trauma informed care practices in their programming and share strategies to adapt.
Day Two Option: Accelerated Train the Trainer Course
We are offering an accelerated version of our Train the Trainer workshop on the second day of this workshop, designed for student trainers and program staff. This workshop gives chefs and frontline instructors the tools and techniques to more effectively coach, develop a culture of learning in the kitchen & classroom, and provide critical feedback to their training populations.
Other workshop topics include how to develop strong employer partnerships, internships/externships for students, and more. Click here to check out our draft agenda.
Bringing Youth Programming to Life: About Our Hosts
Catalyst Kitchens Model Member Liberty's Kitchen's mission is to "provides pathways for New Orleans young people to create and achieve their vision of success." They operate two dine-in locations, a catering business, and several community food access projects. Their focus on empowering students to play major roles in program planning through their Youth Ambassador program is one of the many reasons they make an excellent host for this workshop. Their program is a leader in our network and a Catalyst Kitchens Model Member. They will be hosting Day 1 of the workshop including the Trauma Informed Care Practices and Staff Support training sessions, including a tour of their programming, and will host Track B on Day for the Train the Trainer accelerated course.
Café Reconcile has successfully graduated more than 1,500 youth between the ages of 16 and 24. Students leave the 8 week program with basic independent living skills, interpersonal skills, and work skills, enabling and empowering them to successfully enter the workforce (sourced through their site). They are committed to serving at-risk communities to make a positive change in their lives. They operate a soul food café open to the public for lunch Monday-Friday and offer catering services, both serving as a training ground for students in the program. They will be hosting Day 2 of the workshop for Track A participants including a session on internships/externships and how to create leadership roles for students after their program participation.
While Catalyst Kitchens is focused on foodservice job training as a pathway out of poverty, this workshop covers information relevant to all nonprofit programs focused on supporting youth in workforce development. Open to Catalyst Kitchens member programs and non-members alike, consider joining us in New Orleans, May 8th & 9th.
Find more details here! Catalyst Kitchens members can send up to three staff members for no cost due to our Starbucks event sponsorship, check out the members event calendar here for more details (account login required).
- Liberty's Kitchen:
- Photo credit for photos in article
- Our Story webpage
- Cafe Reconcile: About webpage
- Making Higher Education Policy Work for Opportunity Youth - A Jobs from the Future Report
- Investments in Opportunity Youth Fuel Prosperity - A Jobs for the Future Report
- Job Training Starts Now: Why High School Students Need Youth Employment Opportunities - A White Paper by the Urban Alliance