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Youth Transitions Prepares Students with Disabilities for the Food Service Industry

 by Courtney Frederick, Technical Writing Intern

For his Master’s Thesis, Chris Harper wrote about training a group of individuals with disabilities extremely well in different areas of food service would be profitable for the restaurant industry. Ten years ago, Chris’s idea came to life through Youth Transitions, a program designed to train students to work in the food industry.

Youth Transitions focuses on equipping students with entry-level skills to be successful in the food service industry. The training is molded to meet the needs of food service employers. Students are trained in every aspect in the food service industry; a few examples are serving, dishwashing, prepping food, making desserts, grilling, etc.

The length of Youth Transitions’ program is 12 weeks. After the first 6 weeks, the job search begins for each student. Each student is helped with interviews, cover letters, and resumes. By week 9, students have been trained in many aspects, but the last 3 weeks are dedicated to focusing on each students’ individual strengths and skill sets.

Most applicants are referred by Vocational Rehabilitation. If the student signs up for Youth Transitions through Voc. Rehab, they will pay for the course, which is usually $2,400. Each applicant must be able to lift 30 lbs, stand on his or her feet for a couple hours at a time, see at least 20 feet in front of him or her, and have minimal behavioral issues.

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