The Matthews House (TMH) is a comprehensive strengths-based human services program founded in Fort Collins in 2005. Their tagline - Growing Stronger Together - says a lot about the culture and services they provide. They have numerous programs meant to strengthen the social and economic opportunities of youth and families in Larimer County. TMH programs have progressed from youth intervention programs to programs focused on families, and are shifting from intervention to increasingly important and impactful prevention programs.
TMH's newest program is Restaurant Ready in partnership with the National Restaurant Association. TMH is one of 5 pilot programs partners across the nation, meant to pair industry training classes (ranging from safety to systems to management) with social support and peer relationships - a whole-person approach to jobs training and personal empowerment.
Entry level jobs in the restaurant industry are typically dishwashing and bussing tables - jobs that pay ~$10.50/hour in this market. Line cook jobs are in strong demand and pay more - as much as $14 or $15/hour, which is much more sustainable. However, an applicant generally has to have at least basic knife skills and basic cooking skills to qualify. This grant request does two things - it provides the equipment needed for a mobile classroom-style training for those kinds of skills, and it provides visibility and the ability of TMH to come to where their potential clients are to field and increasing number of participants.
Program manager, Justin Kruger, has developed series of basic line cook skills classes, and will be bringing them to high schools throughout the summer session and into the fall with a kind of travelling road show. This could range from a free single 2-hour knife skills class, to a fee-based 3 or 4-part series going through basic cooking technique. The program is intended to spur interest and awareness of the Restaurant Ready program, and provide for some great basic skills to high school students preparing to be out on their own. This collection of equipment will be paired with existing resources to create the capability for a 30-person class of students.
Knives, Knife Cases, Cutting Boards, Chef Coats, Aprons (30 setups): $2,000
Countertop Induction Ranges (10): $1,000
Stock Pots, Saucepots, and Saute Pans (total of 30): $1,000
Plastic Storage Containers & Lids (total of 30): $200
Wisks, Spatulas, Bowls & misc smallwares (30 setups): $500
Metro Racking Systems for on-site storage(3): 1,900
Food Stock for Training (2018 estimated total): $3,400