Doug Owens M.ED.



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 Career Crisis Kitchen Certification Project



The current state of the American economy is creating an ever growing population of unemployed and under employed individuals.  The vocational aptitude and skill sets of this population are no longer needed in this country.  The manufacturing sector is no longer important to the powerful who set direction for economic success and as a result these ”learn by doing” individuals can no longer generate adequate income.  We now find many individuals who are unable to purchase food and shelter for themselves and their families


The Haven serves as a resource for these individuals to assist with there food, shelter, employment and other human needs.  But where is the referral to employment, the true solution, that these folks so desperately need? Where are the educational opportunities, apprenticeship and training systems to move people to a better level of vocational ability?   There are none.  State and community vocational rehabilitation is unavailable to folks that have no money.  Look under bridges, to the soup kitchens, emergency rooms and judicial system to witness the social meat grinder that has been created.


The Haven and a few other organizations see the crux of the problem and are ready to take action.  The Haven Educational Project will work to establish a vocational learning environment that meets the needs of homeless individuals and an unmet employment need within the community.


After careful community based research and analysis I determined that there is a strong and consistent need for employees in the restaurant and hotel industry.  The three areas of importance to these business owners and managers are reliable and trained dishwashers, food preparation staff and janitorial employees.   These are the entry level employment areas The Haven will target for the educational and support program.  These areas are the focus because The Haven has an excellent kitchen and other physical components to support the endeavor. There are also a large resource of retired caring experts with the skill sets to set up the educational environment, establish curriculum and conduct classes.  These individuals will also have capability and reputation to award meaningful certifications that will be respected by local employers.





To set many of The Haven Guests out into the vocational environment with just skills and a certification would be inappropriate.  Many have been out of the workforce for a long time and need to relearn behaviors relevant to success. There must be a sophisticated learning and support system established to aid in the vocational rehabilitation transition.  This would include training in soft skills needed on the work site and classes designed to help individuals deal with work place stress/anxiety, vigilance and negative imagination (all of which from guest interviews are a problem).


Work Psychology 101

            Building rapport with your work place team.

            Putting aside your life problems when you are at work.

            The art of relaxation and correct breathing.

            Work place stress and dealing with negativity from others.

            Positive assertive behavior in dealing with your negative thinking and conflict.



Soft Skills

            What does employers look for in great employees.

            Time management, organization and perseverance are critical skills.

            Developing and eye for detail in your work activity.

            Going beyond what is expected in your role at the business.

            Becoming a constant and active learning in the workplace.

            Helping and suggesting ideas to improve productivity and company growth.



A written agreement concerning the rules and interaction between both employee and employer is important. This statement would simply cover such things as mutual timely and gentle communication of positive and negative activities so corrective action can be taken.  The following of procedures for intervention when parties have become frustrated and stressed. An agreement that the parties will not abandon each other either psychologically or in the employment relationship without getting help (no termination of employment- no not showing up for work without covering for the manager).  Other aspects of this agreement will be added as research and experience develops.  The importance of this is to establish transparent communication and a supportive bond between individuals in an environment that can be pressurized and stressful.


The establishment of a Program Coordinator is also critical in this regard.  This person would monitor the actual functioning of the relationships and mediate any issues before they lead to a break down in rapport.  Class scheduling, placement management and marketing would be necessary.  The Program Coordinator is a key element in the success of the educational system and selecting a great person will be critical.


Funding for the project will initially be secured by grants from various institutions.  A successful track record of certifications and satisfactory placements opens the door for sustained funding from the businesses that are being served.  A monthly or yearly service donation could be requested assuring long term health and the capital to generate other successful vocational endeavors.

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