April 2017, Part I

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Ohio Restaurant Operator: “The Service Industry Is One Of Endless Opportunity.” In an op-ed for Crain’s Cleveland Business, East 55’s Restaurants LLC’s operations manager Julie Novak shared how the restaurant industry serves as a catalyst for many women’s careers, including her own. She explained: “The service industry is one of endless opportunity, giving women the ability to serve in a variety of roles and a path to advance. I am proud to be part of the one in three women who got their first job in the restaurant industry and the majority of adult women who have worked in a restaurant at some point in their lives.”

Finding Hope For A New Life In Kitchens Across America. Tasting Table’s Alison Spiegel recently reported on how the service sector is providing financial and social opportunities for formerly incarcerated Americans. According to a study by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, 76 percent of formerly incarcerated individuals called the search for work “very difficult or nearly impossible.” However, Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC), told Fast Company that the restaurant industry is now the “top employer of former inmates in the United States.” Drive Change, a New York City food truck that specifically trains and finds jobs for formerly incarcerated youth, and Cala, a San Francisco restaurant where nearly half the staff has been previously incarcerated, are just a few of the many service industry businesses making a difference. “More than just a ‘fair chance,’ these restaurants provide training and skills that ideally help launch careers and fight unemployment,” said Spiegel.

J. Crew Executive On Climbing The Retail Career Ladder. Last week, Refinery29 released a video highlighting the retail career of J. Crew Executive Creative Director Jenna Lyons, who recently announced that she is departing the company after 26 years. Lyons discovered that fashion could be a tool for transformation when designing her first piece of clothing — a full length watermelon skirt — during home economics class in the seventh grade. She later went on to graduate from Parsons School of Design in 1990, and got her first job designing men’s rugby shirts at J. Crew shortly thereafter. By 2003, Lyons rose to become vice president of women’s design, and just five years later, she was named president and executive creative director. On how she helped transform J. Crew into a billion-dollar business, Lyons said: “I love going to work every day. I never sit on the edge of my bed and think ‘I don’t want to do this today.’ Not once.”

94 Year-Old Woman Celebrates 44 Years Working At McDonald’s. ABC News recently interviewed Loraine Maurer as she celebrated 44 years of working for McDonald’s in Evansville, Indiana. In 1973, Loraine’s husband retired on disability, but she decided they were too young to stay home, so she went to work at McDonald’s. Although the job was supposed to be short-term, Loraine still works two shifts a week. “Loraine has quite a following. She has lots of very loyal customers who come especially to our restaurant to see her,” said Katie Kenworthy, who owns the location. When asked why she hasn’t yet retired, Loraine replied, “I would miss it too much…It’s not a job…I really and truly enjoy it.”

Iowa Food Truck Association Serves Up Job Training For The Homeless. WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa recently profiled the Legion of Food, a non-profit food truck association that is working to provide kitchen job training for homeless residents. Executive Director Nick Kuhn started the program after realizing that handing out sandwiches from his food trucks was not a sustainable way to help the homeless. Now, Kuhn’s organization has set out to find people jobs through a new complex called the Foundry, which will have a hall, kitchen and distillery. The kitchen will feature an apprenticeship program that is only available to those that are homeless, where individuals will train and work for a year to prepare to enter the job market. “…We want to take it one step further and try to give them some skills that will help them get out of their own situation,” said Kuhn.

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