MarinHEAL Collaborative Partner Highlight

by | Mar 1, 2024 | Spotlight | 0 comments

Community Action Marin (CAM) Food Service Workforce Program

Community Action Marin’s Food Service Workforce Program worked with 15 individuals to build skills, a supportive network of peers, and secure employment or launch a small business in the food sector. The program launched in March 2022 and participants reached key milestones, including obtaining an industry-recognized certificate (ServSafe Food Handler), a small business license, and employment at a local restaurant.

As a part of the program, three small businesses were offered the opportunity to use Community Action Marin’s Commercial Kitchen for thirty hours, free of cost. Three businesses, one producing poke bowls, a second Italian food, and the third, a catering service.

Each came into this experience with different goals in mind. One business owner shared that he saw this opportunity as allowing him to, “Get my business off the ground and start production.” Another stated, “I hoped that I could introduce a novel way of helping to give back to small-scale U.S. fishermen by delivering fresh and traceable food product to the markets.” He added, “I also really hoped to learn the regulations and requirements, get advice on starting a new food idea, obtain general business planning, and build a supportive network.” At the program’s completion, this individual explained that while he is passionate about preparing and selling food, and he learned a lot, he will not pursue his small business concept. He shared, “I was able to test my idea in a commercial kitchen and found that my business idea wasn’t feasible.”

The third business owner explained that their goal was, “Making the preparation for my business efficient and running properly, and hopefully to continue using the kitchen permanently after the program.”

Twelve individuals were enrolled in the second workforce pathway through which they gained skills and secured employment in the food services industry. This program offered basic kitchen skills training to support participants with passing their ServSafe Food Handler exam. Eleven participants received their Food Handler Certificate and were paired with one of our kitchen mentors who supported them with completing paid on-the-job training.

The mentor imparted valuable knowledge about their trade and provided hands-on experience and guidance with food preparation, sanitation, and kitchen safety.

During their time with the program, participants worked with a Career Coach to support them with resume building, job search, and interview practice. They were connected to Community Action Marin’s Financial and Credit Coaching services to build financial literacy skills and work toward financial wellness. Six participants were referred to Marin Small Business Development Center to work with an advisor.

The participants who joined the program came from different backgrounds and shared the following goals:

“To secure a permanent job.”
“[I] would like to produce a food product and have it in food markets.”
“I would like my own food business.”
“A reliable job in the career I love.”

The CAM team was thrilled to support all the individuals in the program on their journey to secure employment and overall well-being. The CAM team learned best practices for operating a food service workforce program and will share it with the broader community.

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Want to find out more about the work of the HEAL Collaborative?

Contact our Nutrition & Wellness Program Team:

HEAL Collaborative / Steering Committee
Elaini Negussie |
Nutrition & Wellness Program Manager

Canal Community Action Team
Jesica Rodriguez |
Bi-Lingual Community Health Education

Marin City Community Action Team
Daeja Tillis |
Senior Program Coordinator

West Marin Community Action Team
Jesica Rodriguez |
Food Security Program Coordinator