Nominee: Jennifer Fluetsch

Jennifer Fluetsch, Education Program and Services Liaison, Life's Kitchen

Nominated by co-worker Sue Olszewski

There is no typical day for Jen! Jen is literally the glue that keeps things together. She starts off in student briefing, will directly go into a one-on-one with students who are close to graduating helping them with job shadows, job placement, or college admissions (getting FAFSA done, applying to college, registering for classes, applying for scholarships and taking SATS). Jen drives students to GED tests, coordinates the weekly guest chef schedule and networks with area employers. On top of that, she typically has a handful of graduates who have found themselves looking for jobs, needing coats for the winter, seeking her advice and mentorship or just stop in to say hi. In the afternoon several days a week, she also run the life skills classes. Jen has been with Life's Kitchen for five years, and Jen has the most positive "can do" attitude in the building. She is masterful at building rapport with the students and matching their skills to employers where they will be successful (in and out of the food service industry). 

Prior to moving into her current role, she was a culinary instructor at Life's Kitchen for about 4 years and is willing to jump back in and help with students who are struggling in the kitchen and give relief to the kitchen staff when they are challenged.  With her experience in and out of the kitchen, Jen is able to come up with creative ideas for improvements that have definitely made the program stronger.  In the past year, this nominee has launched The Life's Kitchen Alumni Group and hosted 3 alumni gatherings each attended by over 25 graduates and is working with the graduates to form an alumni-lead board. 

She has implemented a new Transition Plan Process to get students near graduation employed before their graduation day which includes Job Shadows, Job Searching, Resume Updates, Cover Letters and a Sample Resignation Letter or further education if that is their plan. In 2022, Jen has found employment for 91% of students able to work and maintained contact with the graduate and the employer (where appropriate) to help with job retention.  With the serious housing shortage in Idaho, this nominee has forged a new partnership with a year-long, culinary apprenticeship program that also provides housing. Our first student is enrolled to begin in January 2023 and our second student is schedule to begin in October 2023.

Read more about Jennifer's work and Life's Kitchen here

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