Job training on the menu at Westminster's Mountain View Cafe

Work Options offers food service skills in Human Services building

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There are two benefits to the Sept. 15 grand opening of the Work Options Mountain View Cafe in Westminster, according to Adams County officials.

First, it will provide job training for Adams County residents, both for those hoping to work in the food service field and for those just hoping to find work.

“Our mission is to help people get and keep jobs in the foodservice industry, particularly those with barriers to keep or getting jobs before,” Work Options for Women Executive Director Julie Stone said during grand opening. “That can be barriers as small as needing eyeglasses or complicated as having housing issues.”

It’s a bonus for Adams County employees who work in  Westminster’s Adams County Human Services building, too, according to Eddie Valdez, deputy director of Adams County Human Services. The building has housed privately operated cafeterias in the space before, but they did not stick around.

“I can’t speak for everybody, but I’m personally excited to have food back our the building again,” Valdez said.

County officials joined staff from Denver-based Work Options and corporate sponsor Swire Coca Cola for the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the cafeteria, located on the third floor of the Human Services Center, 11860 Pecos St., Westminster. The cafe will offer weekday breakfast and lunch options, including pastries, sandwiches and burgers.

The cafe has been in operation in Westminster since mid-August, Work Options for Women Executive Director Julie Stone said. But it’s the latest in a series of job training opportunities the group has offered for the last 25 years.

Stone said the group operates mostly in Denver, offering a four-week culinary skills program, a six-week culinary basics program — covering safety and sanitation, grill and short-order cooking, salad bar, sauteing and an introduction to baking.

Finally, it offers a two-year sous chef apprentice training program.

“Our training is fast, free and focused on our students,” she said. “And, as of three weeks ago, it’s available here in Adams County.”

For many of the programs students, the training leads to their first real job. Most have been homeless at one time or another and three-quarters have had some involvement with law enforcement, she said.

“Our staff train our students in the skills and our case manager works with each student to create a plan to reduce the barriers that have prevented them from succeeding before,” Stone said. “As they work through our program, they can develop the confidence to get their first job but also to keep that job.”

Stone said it’s been refreshing working with Adams County’s staff to open the cafe. She’s used to working with much busier Denver County agencies and social service groups.

“The Denver programs are so large, but in Adams County, there seems to be a lot of crossover,” Stone said. “Everybody here knows everybody else and all the programs work closely together. Our program is just three weeks old, but we’ve already met and worked with so many different county agencies.”

Program participants will train with professional chefs, earn certifications, earn up to $400 per month and complete training in six weeks. There are also food truck internships available as part of the program. Classes start every Monday and program hours are from 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Residents who are interested in participating should call 720.660.0159.

“We are hearing from restaurants that they can’t find anybody to hire,” Adams County Commissioner Emma Pinter said. “Well, Work Options is here to help and get Adams County residents ready for new jobs in the foodservice field.”

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