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New York has opened culinary courses for migrants that guarantee jobs in restaurants


Alina Prikhodko

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More migrants who have arrived in the United States over the past two years are receiving work permit, making it easier for them to escape from city shelters and the underground economy. In New York there are Action, which help immigrants find work. According to Gothamist, the city launched a culinary course for migrants with career opportunities.

Hot Bread Kitchen launched Culinary Career Pathways for New New Yorkers, a five-week course in April that prepares New Yorkers for jobs in the food industry.

Although modeled after the organization's signature "Cooking Fundamentals" course, it has an important twist: It was designed specifically for newly arrived migrants from Latin America who have received work permits and are setting their sights on a career.

The important role of migrants

“Without immigration, the American labor market would be in deep trouble because native workers are unable to fill jobs,” said Zeke Hernandez, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

Representatives of the New York government also admit this. In addition to funding from private donors such as the Robin Hood Foundation, the Hot Bread Kitchen program received $250 from the state Department of Labor. Officials estimate that more than 000 jobs are available for asylum seekers and migrants at more than 40 businesses across the state. At the same time, 000/1000 falls on the food sector.

On the subject: City programs that help immigrants find work in New York

Abe Monzon, senior director of talent relations at Union Square Hospitality Group, says graduates of the program can expect full-time jobs as chefs that pay up to $20 an hour. If graduates are hired as line cooks, they can eventually become line cooks, and then lead cooks, sous chefs, executive sous chefs, executive chefs, even executive chefs, Monzon said.

Economic growth

The restaurant industry is booming. Overall, restaurants and food services are expected to add 200 jobs by the end of this year, for a total of 000 million jobs. At the end of March, according to According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1 million job openings in the combined restaurant and food service category.

Restaurant Associated is among the employers that may hire some of the program's graduates. The New York-based company operates cafes and restaurants at cultural venues, stores and corporate headquarters across the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Times, and Tiffany and Co. and US Open.

Hot Bread Kitchen CEO Leslie Abbey says the organization found its students through referrals from other nonprofits. Although there were initially 18 students in the class, two dropped out due to “family conflicts.” However, the organization tries to make life easier for its students by providing them with a $150 weekly stipend and child care assistance so that they can attend classes without any problems. This year the team plans to train three more groups.

“With the right training, the right connections and some social capital, we can get people into jobs very quickly,” Abby assured. “And the food industry offers many opportunities for advancement. After your first job, there are many career paths to become a manager, team leader, sous chef, and so on.”

Inside the kitchen

Hot Bread Kitchen is located at City Harvest, a food collection organization. Students in white aprons and hair nets intently beat eggs, roll out dough and take a bilingual crash course in the lexicon of American cuisine: hervir, escalfar, dorar - that is, boil, sauté and bake.

The migrants follow the instructions of Chef Williams, a native of Peru. She is a graduate of the Hot Bread Kitchen program, graduating in 2018 and landing a job with Restaurant Associates, a hospitality company that manages restaurants at some of the country's top cultural venues.

There, the Peruvian woman built her career until she eventually began overseeing events at Google. She returned to Hot Bread Kitchen after finishing her master's degree. Williams now serves as the lead culinary instructor for the New New Yorkers.

“Many years ago I was in the same situation as these migrants. I was looking for opportunities,” said the Hot Bread Kitchen graduate.

Chance of luck

For some students, the course is an opportunity to get out of a difficult situation. Proponents of the program say graduates emerge from the course with a very real possibility of getting a full-time job in the city's restaurant industry and then building a career.

Although immigrants make up just 18% of the national workforce, they are disproportionately employed in some industries, said Hernandez, a Wharton School professor and author of “The Truth About Immigration: Why Successful Societies Welcome Newcomers.”

That's 33% of jobs in agriculture, 36% in clothing manufacturing and almost a third of jobs in the hospitality industry. For the most part, those jobs remain unfilled by local residents, he said. Hernandez believes that without immigrant workers, the country's labor market would be in "deep trouble."

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