LET'S GET COOKING: Program created to help unemployed gain work experience

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CORNWALL, Ontario - Young unemployed people looking to start a career in the kitchen are being encouraged to apply to take part in a new skills-training program.

The Eastern Ontario Training Board is spearheading the program that will provide at-risk youth with the skills necessary to begin work in a restaurant kitchen or other large-sized facilities that prepare food like retirement homes and cafeterias.

Successful candidates will be provided with the basic in-school cook apprenticeship (Ontario) curriculum.

"This is a great way for young people to gain experience and learn a new trade," said project manager Kimberly Vass-Lihou. "We want people who are motivated to learn these new skills, but who have difficulty in landing that new job, or skill-developing trade."

Participants will obtain a series of certificates valued by employers, such as the certified National Food Service (Safe Food Handling) Program, Smart Serve and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).

Participants will then have the opportunity to test their newly-acquired knowledge and skills and further their experience by participating in a six-week on-the-job placement.

The program will take place in Cornwall later this spring, followed by Hawkesbury and Alexandria later this year and in 2015.

Candidates must be unemployed for at least 12 months, facing unemployment barriers (language, disability, newcomer status, conflict with the law, lack of work experience, skills or education, etc.), between ages 18 and 25, available to attend classes five days a week, five hours a day for 16 weeks and then participate in a six-week on-the-job placement.

For more information or to see if you are a right fit for the program, please contact Vass-Lihou at the Eastern Ontario Training Board by phone (613-932-0210) or email.

Spaces are limited and the deadline for applications for the Cornwall intake is April 25. Interviews will follow.

The program is part of an Ontario government Youth Job Strategy grant.

Organizations: Eastern Ontario Training Board, National Food Service, Safe Food Smart Serve and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System WHMIS

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario, Hawkesbury Alexandria

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