Kasich partners with Cincinnati State and local foodbank to launch training program

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Governor Kasich announced a commitment Monday from three community colleges to actively recruit and train young minorities in Ohio, including Cincinnati State. The Queen City college will be launching a new training program for people working in the food service industry.

"It is not good enough in Ohio for only those in the suburbs to realize the benefit of economic growth and prosperity," Gov. Kasich said during a special event celebrating the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. "We want members of our minority communities to advance and become managers in the state of Ohio and leaders in our country in the business profession," Gov. Kasich went on to say.

According to a report from Governor Kasich's office, the objective of the Cincinnati State program is to provide disadvantaged participants with the skills they need for career advancement and higher paying jobs while also meeting the needs of employers.

"This is going to provide a higher-level workforce for those employers which will increase their productivity, help the business and so on and so forth," said Dr. Dennis Ulrich, Executive Director of Cincinnati State's Workforce Development Center.

"If you look at this all around in a holistic way, it's great for the participants in the program, it's good for the businesses, and it's good for the partners as well," Ulrich added.

The program will be an extension of the Cincinnati Cooks Program put on by the Freestore Foodbank. Currently the program's success rate for finding participants jobs is 76 percent. Already 875 people have moved through the program to gain skill sets needed for entry level positions in the food service industry.

"They're coming out of the [Cincinnati Cooks] program and they're getting entry level jobs, but this allows them to get a head up on some of the competition that's out there," said Freestore Foodbank President, Kurt Reiber. "And let's face it, training is key in today's economy."

The target population for the Cincinnati State program is unemployed, underemployed or low-wage earners who have either graduated from the Cincinnati Cooks program or who are recommended by someone in the food service industry.

"To be able to go to Cincinnati State and get more education and more guarantee to get a job, I think it would be great," said Garland Butts, a graduate of the Cincinnati Cooks program.

"Who knows if I go to Cincinnati State who I would meet, what job opportunities I would get and be able to better [myself]," Butts said.

Program developers are also aiming to make the current Cincinnati Cooks program credit-eligible so that upon completion of the Cincinnati State program, students will receive one third of the credit hours needed for an Associate's degree.

Upon completion, students will come away with a Kitchen Management Certificate from Cincinnati State. They say students will get hands-on skills in budgeting, sanitation, inventory control, scheduling, cost management, labor relations and personnel management.

They will also graduate with an industry-recognized "National Career Readiness Certificate" that certified certain skill sets have been attained.

According to the Governor's office, students will get applied skills training in team building, customer service, computer basics, effective communication and financial wellness. Students will receive one-on-one career placement help. The report also states the cost of program per student for the institution to operate the curriculum will be $3,278.75 dollars based on a class of 20 students.

Dr. Dennis Ulrich says they are still working to secure funding so they can offer it as a free certificate program for participants.

"This is an opportunity for them to get to the next level of income and frankly they don't have a lot of discretionary income to be able to afford this program," Ulrich said.

The program will be implemented using existing Cincinnati State resources as well as partner resources, like those of the Freestore Foodbank.

The program is set to launch in April. The first class will have 20 students and is expected to fun for six months. The goal is to graduate three different classes every year.

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