Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Food Service Training Program focuses on training individuals to work in many areas of food service.

This curriculum-based program takes place Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Goodwill’s Good-to-Go Cafe in Lawrenceville. The program lasts up to one year and provides both hands-on and classroom training. Food Service Training is provided to individuals who have the goal of obtaining competitive employment. Goodwill takes a holistic approach by providing assessment, job skills, development, job readiness training, job search and job placement support.

Labor Market Information:
Successful completion of the Food Service Training Program prepares participants for jobs in the food and hospitality industries in places like restaurants, cafes, nursing homes, and hospitals. Participants will be qualified to work as food prep workers, deli counter attendants, dishwashers, bussers, etc. The schedule for this type of work may include evenings and weekends.

Program Model:

Assessment Services
The following tools may be used to assess trainees for placement into the program:

  • Pre-evaluation assessment of assistive technology needs
  • Personal interview with training staff and café management
  • Analysis of prior work experience and transferable skills
  • Preference and interest inventories

Job Skills Training
Trainees will learn the skills needed to work in a food service environment, or transfer the skills to other hospitality businesses. This will be accomplished through simulated instruction in a classroom, but primarily through on-the-job training supported by a Food Service Training Specialist and Job Coach. While in training the trainee will be held to the same standards as a café employee. After completing the training requirements, trainees may be placed in an externship to ensure readiness for competitive employment. Trainees will be paid minimum wage while participating in the program.

Job Readiness
Trainees will attend readiness classes aimed at developing appropriate work attitudes, behaviors and soft skills for employment in a food service environment. Topics include:

  • Food Service Careers
  • Communication Skills
  • Completing Job Applications
  • Workplace Safety
  • Customer Service
  • Resume Writing
  • Maintaining a Good Work Ethic
  • Working as a Team
  • Interviewing Skills

Job Placement and Job Development
After completing the training program, trainees will be given guidance and support in applying and interviewing for food service positions. They can do so through Goodwill’s Career Service Center or through funder-supported job placement services.

Job Coaching/Case Management Services
Job Coaching may be provided to assist individuals with identifying potential employers, scheduling and attending interviews, and exploring transportation options. Continued support will be determined on a case by case basis. Services include: adapting to the work environment; securing transportation; counseling regarding work-related skills; and, accessing resources necessary to maintain employment.

Program Completion:
Training Objectives:
Trainees will demonstrate the following:

  • Skills: Verbal and non-verbal communication skills, safety and sanitation, team work, multi-tasking, and basic food handling
  • Workplace Competencies: Listening and following instructions, operate work stations independently, ability to work with others, proper safety and sanitation, verbal and non-verbal communication

Course Completion Requirements:
Mastery of each cafe station within competency level.

Credential/Certification Obtained:
ServSafe® Certification

Eligibility and Service Availability
Individuals who have the goal of obtaining and retaining competitive employment in a food service environment, and have been screened and referred by an overseeing funding agency or service provider, may apply to the Food Service Training Program. Individuals should have basic verbal and non-verbal communication skills, a desire to learn, food service experience (not required), and be able to stand for long periods of time. Final determinations are made after completing an application and interview with the café management and staff. The individual’s start date is determined by training position availability.

To learn more, contact:

Goodwill’s Welcome Center
Phone: 1-877-499-3526

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