Tuesday Oct 11th, 2011
For seven years after graduating from high school, Marcia Joyner worked in retail. Although she was able to move up the ranks of management, she never felt as if she found her true career pathway and needed professional assistance.
She became a customer at the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development’s (MOED) Northwest One‐Stop Career Center at Mondawmin Mall to look for jobs and explore through job counseling sessions conducted by an MOED Career Development Facilitator (CDF) who assessed Marcia’s skills and interests, the CDF noticed her enthusiasm when speaking about her past experiences in the food service industry. Marcia had enjoyed working as a server at the on‐site restaurants at Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville and as the party planner and caterer for family weddings and birthday parties. Noting these valuable work experiences and Marcia’s interest in returning to that field, the CDF directed her to a food service career training program available through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)‐funded grant. Through ARRA, MOED provided more than 300 training opportunities in a variety of industries for unemployed/underemployed adults and dislocated workers in Baltimore in 2009‐2010.
Outcomes & Benefits
The CDF helped Marcia with the application process to St. Vincent de Paul’s Learn to Earn at St. Ambrose Culinary Arts and Hospitality Training Program. She was accepted into the program, which included four weeks of job readiness and classroom training, ten weeks of kitchen skills classes, and a six‐week externship in the field. Her CDF encouraged Marcia throughout her successful completion of these phases, which was clearly providing the right direction for her to meet her career goals. For her last six weeks in the program, Marcia was placed in an externship at The Laughing Pint, a bar and restaurant on Gough Street in Highlandtown, recently ranked the top neighborhood bar in the city by The Baltimore Sun. “After I got here, I loved it. There’s a warm atmosphere,” she said. She started her externship in July 2010, during which time she was paid by St. Ambrose. After successfully completing the externship, Marcia was hired as a full‐time cook at The Laughing Pint, where she continues to work today. “The program served [Marcia] very well,” said the owner of The Laughing Pint, Shannon Cassidy. “She learned a lot in a short time – kitchen safety, cleanliness, basic skills. She already had all that down when she got here.” She added, “Hiring someone can be an expensive and time‐consuming process. [The externship] gave Marcia the opportunity to see what it would be like to work here, and we got to know her at the same time. She fits in well here.”
With her new culinary arts career, Marcia said she now feels she has found her calling. She thinks about maybe one day starting a catering and party planning business. In the meantime, she is happy at The Laughing Pint, and hopes to continue building her skills. “I want to expand my horizons in the kitchen,” said Marcia. “I want to take more classes and do more recipe building, to improve that.”