Food handling class leads to new job opportunities
For those struggling with homelessness and addiction, a job can be an elusive thing. That is why the Nashville Rescue Mission is committed to helping the men and women who complete the life-recovery program obtain skills necessary to becoming gainfully employed and contributing members of the community.
No Small Ideas
“I came through the Mission’s life-recovery program in 2002,” says Tony Baxter, Kitchen Manager. “I love to cook, so working in the kitchen was a natural fit for me. Over the years I’ve taken lots of different classes and learned how to be better at my job. Last year, I started thinking… ‘As many of our life-recovery clients work in the kitchen, what if we prepared them to take the food handling certification test? Maybe it would open up some new job opportunities for them.’”
"It makes a man feel good to achieve something. It builds his confidence and gives him something to be proud of."
An idea was all it took to get Tony started on developing a month-long course to train men who are interested in obtaining a food handling certificate from the Tennessee Department of Health. “I partnered with someone at the Health Department to develop a curriculum that would cover all aspects of food handling,” says Tony. “Education is a powerful key. For many of the men in our program, they have never completed anything. So having the certificate not only helps them find a job, it also raises their self-esteem.”
Learning Something New
Brian is a perfect example of someone who found employment in a kitchen because of completing the course and obtaining his food handling certification. “My background is in manufacturing, but jobs in that field are hard to find,” shares Brian. “I heard about the class while in the first phase of the life-recovery program. I love to cook. Always have. I thought this would be a great way to open some new doors.”
Brian graduated from the Mission’s life-recovery program in August 2011. He is one of over 80 men who received their food handling certification while in the Mission’s program in the last year. A month after graduating, he was hired on the spot at a local Waffle House. “It’s a tough job, but what I learned at the Mission has been a huge help,” says Brian. “I’m extremely grateful for the chance to learn a new trade.”
Brian plans to obtain additional certifications and hopes to one day open his own fusion restaurant. Through learning new skills, Brian and other men like him see they can achieve greater personal wholeness and freedom through education. Thank you for making new opportunities like this possible.