April 2017, Part II

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Celebrating Non-Profit Partnerships With The Service Industry. This April, Path Forward is showcasing how non-profit partnerships with the service industry are building a skilled workforce by highlighting key facts and stories of partnerships that have helped restaurant and retail workers find opportunities. One featured story is that of Donald Reed. After leaving prison, Reed started working at Pizza Hut, traveling two hours by bus each way for six months in order to gain the skills he needed to move forward. Thanks to a connection with Oasis Center, a local non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth, Reed earned a degree and now works as a chef while also growing his own catering business. “Through that industry and the people associated with it in Nashville, I was able to beat the odds,” he said.


Restaurateur Serves Up English Lessons For His Employees. On April 17, Eater New York published an interview with Danny Carabano, owner of VSPOT, a Latin vegan restaurant chain in Manhattan. Carabano recently developed a computer program that teaches his employees English using the same immersion techniques that he used to teach himself Spanish. This program serves as a win-win in that it provides assistance to his employees, as well as a testing ground for the program that he hopes to turn into The Cyrano Language School. “I did free classes for my employees with a standard ‘chalk and talk’ ESL teacher, but I dislike that approach,” Carabano said. “So I’ve focused on building this program on the side…my guys work so much that they feel overwhelmed, so I’m trying to create a version they can do at home.”

Leaders In Bread Rising Through The Ranks. The Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto recently reported on how Ron Shaich, CEO of Panera Bread Company, has created something of a “Bread Mafia” with former Panera employees, of which he is “the Godfather.” Today, former Panera and Au Bon Pain executives are now leaders at a variety of different restaurants that include: Friendly’s, Johnny Rockets, Pizzeria Uno, Cosi, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pieology and Wahlburgers. Each of these executives worked under Shaich’s leadership, learning the basics of good management. “It just came down to a philosophy that was successful: the consumers were accepted, appreciated, and embraced,” Darren Tristano, chief insights officer at restaurant consultancy Technomic, commented. Now, Saich gets hundreds of notes from former employees who are working in a variety of fields to thank him for what they learned under his direction and tell him how they apply that experience in their new careers.

D.C. Woman Celebrates 40 Years Stirring The Pot At Ben’s Chili Bowl. On April 13, The Washington Post profiled Bernadette “Peaches” Halton as she celebrated 40 years of work at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a well known institution in Washington, D.C. Peaches took her first job at Ben’s as an after-school gig when she was just shy of her 17th birthday. Within a few years, she was in charge of making the famed chili with Ben himself. Today, Peaches has two assistants and she continues to cook the chili, arriving at 3 a.m. and managing the breakfast shift until noon. “From Day One, for 40 years, I have always been comfortable and happy,” she said. “Even when this neighborhood was all drugs and crime…This is where I belong. They needed me, and I needed them.”

Retail Entrepreneur Shares Her Roadmap To Success. In an interview with Glossy, California fashion entrepreneur Elyse Walker shared the story behind her successful retail career. Walker discussed how she was introduced to the retail industry at an early age, growing up working in her father’s shoe wholesale business and in her mother’s shoe boutique throughout high school and college. Eventually, Walker opened a family business of her own– a shoe store on Madison Avenue in New York City– which she ran while taking college courses full time. Today, she is the owner of two brick-and-mortar stores in Southern California, as well as the Fashion Director and face of FWRD, an e-commerce website selling luxury designer apparel, bags, shoes, and accessories.

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