A new restaurant in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia called Corner Cafe FXBG will train the homeless and unemployed to work at their establishment. A nonprofit called Project F.O.R.C.E will provide a 120-day internship at the Cafe for people who are having trouble getting jobs, even those recently released from prison on non-violent charges.
Some of the participants will get a job at the Cafe, but those who don’t will have better skills to be able to find a different one.
At the end of their training they will take an exam, and if they pass they will earn a ServSafe certificate, which will make it easier for them to land jobs in the serving industry.
Tommy Abbott, the chef who started the program, says that these skills can even carry over to other industries.
“Just because this is a restaurant doesn’t mean you have to go work at one. The skills transfer,” Abbott told Fredericksburg.com.
“The goal is to help them find a job in the community,” he added.
Abbott also said that interns will also receive help from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library with learning how to write their résumés.
Abbott selected the site of a recently closed General Store as the location for the Cafe because the store had been a town landmark for nearly 40 years.
This is similar to Cafe Momentum, a restaurant in Dallas, Texas that specifically employs former juvenile offenders, who were recently let out of jail and looking for a new start.
Cafe Momentum founder Chad Houser actually established this restaurant with the sole purpose of creating a stepping stone for newly released juvenile offenders. Houser was able to fund the project through over $1 million in donations, which came from a number of individual sources and organizations.
In addition to the important on-the-job training that the young people will be receiving, the restaurant will also offer classes in finance, anger management, art, and social media.
“It’s not just about giving these young men a job, it’s about creating a holistic environment where they can be immersed in all the tools and resources they need to be successful in life, which extends far beyond working at a job,” Houser said.