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Wausau shelter adds workforce development programs for residents

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 9:44 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Bridge Street Mission in Wausau has added culinary arts and facility management programs to help its residents transition into the workforce. The classes are taught to residents living in the shelter’s Sober Living Center. Executive Director Craig Vincent said the two programs align with the recovery efforts.

“They fit into our overall program because of the guys coming out of our program,” Vincent explained. “It’s more than just the hard skills of employment.”

Through the culinary arts program, residents will leave the center with sous chef skills.

“I’m really working with them on their cutting skills, timing, cooking and temperatures,” explained Food Service Manager, Bonnie Galloway. “I’m working with them on their foodservice manual to make sure they understand everything in it.”

Galloway said the residents could apply for jobs outside of the fast-food industry with the skills they learn.

The facility management program will prepare residents for several jobs, according to Facility Manager James Thompson.

“We’ll be teaching the men to maintain the facility whether it be a building like this or a home or an apartment,” Thompson explained.

Matthew Kjos is a resident at the center. He said participating in the program is more than just a job opportunity for him.

“It’s an opportunity for me to work with people and get into a schedule or being with people,” Kjos expressed. “And an opportunity to form relationships in a workplace environment, learning a skill that I can use in my daily and if I decide to use it into a career, I can take it into a career.”

Vincent said he hopes to add building trades and welding programs to the center next.

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