Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County recognized the Fort Worx Job Training Program with the 2021 Apprenticeship Partner Award at its 25th Anniversary Celebration. Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks, Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, and Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker presented the award to the program’s collaborative partners: Taste Project, Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB), and the Culinary School of Fort Worth.
“[Fort Worx] has been valuable in further connecting our mission with the community,” said Judy McDonald, Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County Executive Director.
Launched in April 2021, Fort Worx is the only paid and accredited culinary job training program in Texas. The accelerated 16-week program provides training and on-the-job learning in the fundamentals of food preparation. To date, the program has successfully graduated 21 Apprentices with placement at a living wage.
“Thank you for all the value you poured into my life,” said Angelle, Fort Worx Graduate.
Apprentices spend their first 8 weeks in the Tarrant Area Food Bank’s Mission Kitchen where they receive hands-on instruction and participate in skill development activities. Apprentices put their skills to work through paid on-the-job learning in a commercial kitchen, transforming surplus donated food into nutritious meals which are distributed to food insecure people in the community. Apprentices also complete a variety of other experiences to engage them in the mission of TAFB, to empower communities to alleviate hunger by providing food, education, and resources.
Apprentices spend their second 8 weeks at Taste Project’s Taste Community Restaurant, a nonprofit pay-what-you-can restaurant. Here the apprentices engage in additional work experience in a full-service restaurant environment where they learn food preparation, hot line management, recipe development, ingredient sourcing, recipe costing, plating, menu building, and service planning.
“Knowing we have had an impact in one person’s life makes this program a success,” says Jeff Williams, Founder and Executive Director of Taste Project. “But the recognition from Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County will allow us to impact even more lives.”
Fort Worx is accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) through the Culinary School of Fort Worth. Upon successful completion, Apprentices graduate as Certified Fundamental Cooks, are provided job placement assistance, and are eligible to continue in the Culinary School of Fort Worth’s apprenticeship program sponsored by their employer.
Fort Worx is now enrolling culinary apprentices for its 2022 cohorts. Interested applicants can apply at www.fortworx.org.
Photo Credit: Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County. Pictured (Left to Right): Scott Wade (the Culinary School of Fort Worth), Joan Grigsby (Workforce Development Board), Tyrone Taylor (Workforce Development Board), Julie Williams (Taste Project), Jeff Williams (Taste Project), Julie Butner (Tarrant Area Food Bank), Mayor Mattie Parker (City of Fort Worth), Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks, Jason Avelson (the Culinary School of Fort Worth), Amie Hebdige (Tarrant Area Food Bank), Joan Denton (Tarrant Area Food Bank), and Robyn Frascella (Tarrant Area Food Bank).
About Taste Project
Taste Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit established to feed, educate, and serve our community so they may “taste and see the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). We believe everyone should have access to healthy nutritional food. Our vision is to see our community become the solution to the challenges our community faces as it relates to hunger. Our first project, Taste Community Restaurant at 1200 South Main Street in Fort Worth, focuses on healthy, quality meals made from fresh ingredients. Our menu has no prices. This is a give and take concept. We ask guests to do one of the following: 1) pay what you can afford, 2) pay what you would typically pay, or 3) pay what you would typically pay, plus a little extra. To learn more, visit us at www.tasteproject.org.
About Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) empowering our communities to alleviate hunger by providing food, education and resources. Through a network of 350 partners, TAFB is able to provide access to over 1M weekly nutritious meals to children and adults facing hunger. This work resulted in access to 60 million nutritious meals in fiscal year 2020. Learn more at tafb.org.
The Culinary School of Fort Worth
The Culinary School of Fort Worth exists to prepare students to exemplify a standard of excellence in their culinary community. The school offers a 9 month post-secondary certificate program that covers Savory, Baking & Pastry, and Kitchen Management as well as two months of on-the-job-training in a professional environment.
Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County
Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County (WSTC), under the direction of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), is one of 28 local workforce development boards located throughout the state. WSTC’s primary goal is to meet the needs of Tarrant County employers and workers through locally designed market-driven workforce development initiatives and services. All employers, workers and job seekers are eligible to take advantage of these services. The 29-member Workforce Development Board (WDB) is made up of business and community leaders and is chaired by Gracie Vega, with The Gaylord Texan Resort and Conference Center. The WDB work in partnership with the Workforce Governing Board (WGB), which is composed of Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, Arlington Mayor Jim Ross and chaired by Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, to oversee Workforce services in Tarrant County. More information can be found at www.workforcesolutions.net or by calling 817-413-4000. NOTE: Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County is an employment and training resource and does not handle unemployment–that is the role of the Texas Workforce Commission.