Teen culinary internship is path to quality employment

FORT PIERCE, Fl., June 21, 2019 – A group of teens training for a career in the food service industry will have a hand in preparing meals this summer for kids who struggle with hunger.

They’re participating in Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Green Apron Culinary program, a hands-on internship at the food bank’s Food Processing Plant. The program is built around Work-Based Learning, an educational strategy that combines both traditional classroom instruction and hands-on, real-life work experience. Each day from June 24 to Aug. 2, the teens in the program will help prepare thousands of meals that go out to Summer Meals host sites where children gather to eat while schools are closed.

The teens were chosen from a multi-step application process that included interviews and letters of recommendation. Each is interested in a food-centered career, and earns a wage during the internship. The program is a partnership between Treasure Coast Food Bank and CareerSource, a non-profit workforce development service.

“We’re excited about this partnership that gives young men and women the opportunity to learn needed skills for good employment in one of the most in-demand occupations on the Treasure Coast,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “The philosophy behind our Green Apron program for both students and adults is to provide them with improved skills and industry credentials so they’ll qualify for higher wage positions, such as running commercial catering or dining operations in hotels, banquet facilities or restaurants.”

While the program will involve daily food prep and cooking lessons, it also includes several off-site learning experiences, such as a visit to St. Lucie County’s Sunshine Kitchen professional food service incubator and to a local farm. They’ll learn from staff at the University of Florida/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County on how to incorporate locally grown, seasonal foods into menus and cuisine. And by the end of the six-weeks, the students will take the exam to earn their ServSafe Manager Certification.

The next session of Green Apron Culinary classes for adults is planned for September 2019. Visit stophunger.org for more information or to register.