Foodlink Career Fellowship welcomes in a new class

The Foodlink Career Fellowship — an intensive, one-of-a-kind culinary apprenticeship — welcomed in the Class of 2023 on Tuesday morning.

The new group of six aspiring chefs represents the fifth class to join the program since its launch in 2018. In order to apply, prospective Fellows must be nominated by a mentor or community partner. The new class received nominations from the following entities: Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, Rochester City Council, RochesterWorks, Volunteers Of America, Catholic Family Center’s Bridges to Success program, and the YWCA.

This week will be the first time in the program’s history that two classes will be enrolled in the program at the same time. The Class of 2022 is just past the halfway point of the program, and currently helps staff the Foodlink Community Cafe in the downtown Central Library, while fulfilling their other obligations in the Foodlink Community Cafe and the training classroom. They will move on to externship opportunities outside of Foodlink this spring, and are on pace to graduate this summer.

The Fellowship includes a 3-month pre-apprenticeship phase, during which participants get plenty of hands-on training in the Foodlink Community Kitchen, and begin their online culinary training through the Rouxbe software system. Participants then advance (or “Move Up”) to the apprenticeship portion of the program, and continue their training as full-time employees at Foodlink for the next six months. In 2019, the Fellowship was recognized by the New York State Department of Labor as an official Cook Apprenticeship — the first such program in the state. 

During the apprenticeship, Fellows help staff the Cafe and continue with their hands-on and online training curriculums at Foodlink. Fellows depart Foodlink for the last three months of the program and earn an externship at a local employer.

The goal of the program is to provide enough hard- and soft-skills training to help graduates earn middle-skills jobs with living wages in the regional food industry. Many graduates have moved onto careers at Wegmans Food Markets, local restaurants, colleges and universities and more.

Please join us in welcoming the newest class to the Foodlink family!

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