Over the next year, JustDane will be developing a new hospitality management training program specifically for individuals impacted by incarceration, homelessness, and substance abuse to debut in March of 2022.
This program was made possible by a $55,000 planning grant from Ascendium Education Group.
The planning grant will cover the next year of work and by next year, if the program has hit certain milestones, JustDane can apply for a two-year grant to continue to fund their program.
The 12-week course will be utilizing a curriculum from the National Restaurant Association. According to the press release, the program “will provide a career pathway into restaurant and hotel management and entrepreneurship.”
According to Carmella Glenn, the program coordinator of the Just Bakery program, plans regarding the structure of the program are in the works.
“The students will all start together — the Just Bakery students and the hospitality students — in the classroom for that first month,” Glenn said.
This summer, Glenn noted that she will be discussing with representatives from Madison College to discuss ways in which the program can ensure that graduates receive both college credits and the skills they need to be proficient in the field of hospitality
Madison also provides college credits to the graduates of Just Bakery, a 12-week vocational and employment training program specifically designed to meet the needs of men and women returning to the community after incarceration and to prepare men and women with employment barriers to work in commercial bakeries.
Further, Glenn hopes to create a committee of restaurants in the area interested in hiring the program graduates, noting that the students have more success with hiring “when people know what we do.”
“I really want to build it to be at a point where they can be hired and people know to reach out to us,” Glenn continued.
Students in the program will possibly get the opportunity to apprentice with a restaurant in the local area.
To Glenn, this program, and similarly Just Bakery, are based heavily on the reciprocity between itself and the community.
“The local restaurant and hospitality world has been so good to JustBakery and to our students and to those that do maybe have more struggles in mental health or substance use or incarceration or [are] unhoused,” Glenn said. “You go into any kitchen hodgepodge of people from all over the world in all different walks of life and so to be able to really train people to seed into that is like our way of kind of giving back as much as they give to us. We can train and give back that way and they’re giving to us by hiring and supporting them in these really healthy, just workplaces.
“They honestly believe in their community, they want to heal their community and they’re willing to do whatever that takes,” she added.
Already, the program has garnered interest from current Just Bakery students who, according to Glenn, are interested in the program to learn more about hospitality for their own entrepreneurial purposes.
“I always tell people, while we’re called an employment training in baking, it’s a small piece, but a big part is the curriculum,” Glenn explained. “We want to be able to take it for them, for those people that maybe aren’t interested in baking, and be able to still let them come in and use the curriculum to go be entrepreneurs that they’re supposed to be.”