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Friday, Apr 4, 2014

Earning while Learning


Thanks to the generosity of
our donors, students in our Workforce Development Program earn their first paycheck!

It doesn’t get more real: A paycheck is a powerful tool in teaching students to prepare for the workplace and young men like Jaleel certainly enjoy getting paid.

As part of Berkshire’s Workforce Development Program, Jaleel and several others are working at the Berkshire Pizzeria, an actual pizza and sandwich shop located on campus. There, students in the Pizzeria Program learn valuable culinary and business skills. They learn about recipe standardization, food handling and storage, cooking methods, knife skills and techniques, safety and sanitation procedures, culinary math and restaurant metrics, point-of-sale system operation, and customer service.

“Beyond culinary skills, these students develop desired workforce readiness skills marketable to any industry,” says Jon Newcomer, Berkshire’s Food Service Coordinator and the man teaching the students in the program.

“Professionalism, critical thinking, social responsibility, work ethic, teamwork, collaboration, creativity, and communication are key elements that will help them succeed in the workplace,” said Newcomer.

“I like working here,” says Jaleel, who was eager to give tossing a pizza dough a try. “I’m learning things that will help me get a job later, and I get to earn money while I’m here.”

Berkshire Pizzeria was established in 2013 and is quickly gaining loyal clientele in its campus target market, including regular employees in the various offices and departments on campus. The Pizzeria has also successfully catered special events such as Questar III BOCES’ Tri-County Event, a visit by a delegation from Singapore, and an open house by the Columbia-Greene Partnership Academy in Hudson. Newcomer says the next step is to expand catering services both on and off campus.

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