Introducing Lachelle and our new Vocational Training program

meet lachelle

We have a new program! 

Through our work with local schools who are building up their farm to school programs, we have identified a key barrier to their ability to provide nutritious food to students — an industry shortage of trained staff to prepare healthy meals. This is why earlier in 2019, we got together with partner organizations Casa de Esperanza, Cornerstone, Minneapolis Public Schools, and Roseville Area Schools to create a solution to this issue. We proposed a pilot vocational training program where we’ll teach cooking skills to under-employed individuals through a training program followed by an internship at a local k-12 school. 

With generous support from the Cargill Foundation’s Childhood Nutrition grant program, we received multi-year funding to make this culinary vocational training program a reality. Leading this initiative is Lachelle Cunningham, our new staff Culinary Education Coordinator. Lachelle comes to us with a deep background in culinary arts and education, with previous experience working in food justice and restaurant development work.

The pilot will involve two cohorts, totaling 32 participants going through a 10-week program. Seven weeks of culinary education will take place in TGA’s teaching kitchen, followed by a three-week internship in either a Minneapolis Public School or Roseville Area School kitchen, with the opportunity for job placement at the end of the program. By addressing the shortage of new trained school chefs with the knowledge and skills to process locally grown produce into delicious meals, we believe that this vocational training program will increase the number of healthy food options served and consumed in local schools. We also hope that this program encourages more people to pursue culinary foodservice careers in schools. 

If you are interested in learning more or participating in this program, which will kick off in the summer of 2020, we want to hear from you! Contact Lachelle at [email protected]

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