Transition Graduate Program
Reality Kitchen’s Transition Graduate Program will offer a supportive workplace experience in a community based setting with curriculum designed to help these persons be fully prepared to transition on to other independent job opportunities.
Each year, a significant number of students transition through and age out of the special education programs of the various school districts of Lane County. Many lack the focused skills that prepare them to transition successfully to a traditional work setting. When these students reach 21, with their choices for independence in front of them, they would benefit from a program that prepares them in career paths designed to support their unique needs. In most cases, with an additional year or two of individualized supports by professionals, these young adults would have the opportunity to focus on skill development, as well as build their confidence in those enhanced skills.
Delivering Employment Path services in an integrated workplace setting.
Services to Supported Staff are delivered in an integrated workplace where the organization owns and manages a retail café and wholesale bakery. This location is open to a diverse cross section of the neighborhood, larger community and general public. The café serves espresso coffee drinks, pastries, baked goods, breakfasts, lunches, soups and sandwiches, as well as, beer and wine. The wholesale bakery bakes and delivers breads and other baked goods to many of the areas food service businesses and food trucks.
Public gatherings, socials, musical events and speakers are other activities open to the public and involve the Supported Staff we serve here, as well.
In this setting, Reality Kitchen Nonprofit delivers Employment Path Services.
The bakery is located at 645 River Road, Eugene, in a mixed use area of the River Road neighborhood.
Currently, Reality Kitchen is serving eight individuals with Employment Path Community services. There are an additional 5 individuals that volunteer their time here and are gaining job skills in this setting. These individuals are not all scheduled in and working together in groups, which may produce isolation and clustering away from the desired integrated setting. Rather, these individuals are scheduled at alternating and separate times and days to maintain a balanced and integrated employment experience for all employees, with and without disabilities. Our setting is designed to have all employees, not including support staff, working on combined and separate tasks in the same way all fully integrated, community based employment sites are arranged.
Food Card – Obtaining a Food Handler’s Card is an important part of getting Independent Employment
Basic Meals – learning to Plan, Prepare and Serve “the basics” is a life skill, as well as a job skill.
Snacks – Good, healthy snacks that satisfy and nourish are important to know about, understand and prepare, as well as create!
Purchasing Groceries– so many skills to teach, learn and employ in going to market, selecting produce and supplies.
Service Area Management – Cleanliness, organization, and responsibilities to co-workers, product and customers, as well as equipment use and management skills
Nutrition – Understanding the values, importance and benefits of the food we eat, the way it is prepared and served.
Following Recipes – Recipes presented in picture form or text, made accessible and understandable will support the student’s success and understanding of the consistent preparation of the foods that they prepare and serve.
Measurements – Another opportunity to reinforce math skills, tool use and choice making skills, as well as support understanding, goal setting and quality management skills.
Meal Planning – from catering and specialty food preparation, to the full service management of the food carts, ‘planning’ brings many important skills to the front of daily conversations, decisions and choices that are both academic and part of the business day in which students will participate.
Budgeting – Beyond basic math skills, the underlying reasons for why we budget and how to budget effectively and responsibly will be covered.
Dishwashing – “The job’s not over till the paperwork’s done” and the skill building for being a clean, thorough and responsible worker is a vital part of a complete program.
Recycling – Integrating the basics and importance of recycling will be a regular component of the program, with opportunities to learn the full cycle impact of making good choices.
Utensil Identification – Another basic skill supported and reinforced through daily use.
Kitchen Safety – Putting into practice the basic skills and knowledge needed to make the kitchen a safe place to work and be and being competent in the use of fire extinguishers and other safety techniques that will make future employment more easily within reach to our students.
Work Ethic / Service Skills – The opportunity to introduce theory and understandings of kitchen. Practices and service techniques into the overall service model, an important skill to instill and teach in successful workers.
Field / Community Trips – Visiting other businesses in the community that model the skills and preparation/service techniques, approaches and systems that we will be teaching.
At all times, Reality Kitchen supports and creates ongoing opportunities for each individual to fully access the greater community. Monthly and weekly socials, events and gatherings that bring the community together regularly offer opportunities for the general public to change their perceptions of the employment options available to individuals who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities. In this setting, Supported Staff members participate in all aspects of the social experiences, as well as making the bread and baked goods deliveries into the community to a diverse number of food service businesses and food trucks. In this way, these Supported Staff are the best representatives of the work the organization does and benefits from these integrated interactions.
In this way, Reality Kitchen remains aligned with the HCBS requirements by providing daily opportunities for all persons, with and without disabilities, to have full access to the greater community in a number of different ways. These contacts provide learning opportunities for both our Supported Staff and members of the community.
* The following program will be individualized and adapted to accompany each learner ‘s skill sets and learning styles.
This program is designed to introduce students to all the aspects of working in a professional kitchen, with the goal that they will gain the skills and experience necessary to be able to work at an entry- level position in a variety of food service settings.
The areas covered will be:
1) Food Safety and Sanitation (using the Oregon “Food Safety” training manual as the guide. A certificate from ODHS will be awarded upon successful completion, and is mandatory in order to work in a professional kitchen).
2) Kitchen Equipment Use and Identification
3) Basic Measurements (using U.S. Standard and Metric Measuring System)
4) Cooking, Baking and Basic prep methods
5) Effective Recipe and Check List following
6) Food Purchasing and Storage
7) Food Presentation and Serving the public
8) Cleaning, Dishwashing, Recycling, and Composting
There will be an overall emphasis on Nutrition, Health and the joy of good local food.
Students will get daily hands on experience in dealing with and serving prepared menu items to the public right out of Reality Kitchen!
There will also be further opportunity for students to use their kitchen skills and add to their work experience by working at some of the special events and regular evening programming that takes place at Reality Kitchen. (check out our website to view our calendar of events)
We will also offer a specialized component teaching coffee roasting, brewing, serving, packaging, as well as delivery to local businesses. This will be our own “Reality Coffee “enterprise.
The program will include field trips to small local farms, restaurants, food suppliers, and other potential places of employment.
Computer access will be available to students throughout their time in the program.
Students will receive their own “Reality Kitchen” apron to use for the duration of the program and then keep when they are done.
The program will take place at 245 Van Buren, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 9-3:30. We are located on the public bus line, which makes for easy access.
For more information contact Executive director; Jim evangelista @ 541 337-1323 or Kitchen Program director; Catherine Avila @541 731-3758
Safety and Sanitation
Students will learn the latest information on food safety; following the ODHS Food Safety Program.
Food Safe must be successfully completed in order to work in a commercial kitchen.
Upon completion students will receive a Food Safe certificate.
Student Learning Objectives:
Upon successful completion students will be able to;
Safely handle food, utilizing information on food handling and safety
Apply and implement Food Safe guidelines
Operate a professional kitchen observing Health Department regulations
Students will learn to identify basic measurements (U.S. standard and metric measuring system) read kitchen thermometers and learn to differentiate between which measuring devices to use for wet/dry ingredients.
Student Learning Objectives:
Upon successful completion students will be able to use correct measurements and measuring tools as needed in recipes as well as be able to demonstrate ability to take thermometer readings with the knowledge of what the correct temperature should read.
Cooking, Baking and Food Handling Skills
Students will learn practical, cooking, baking and food preparation skills as well as build fundamental vocabulary needed in order to succeed in a commercial kitchen. Some of the skills and language taught and used will be; grate, chop, mix, stir, combine, dice, pour, scrape, peel, scoop, sauté, boil, simmer, knead, etc…
Student Learning Objectives:
While emphasizing hands-on learning, students will acquire understanding of basic cooking/baking principals, methods and food handling skills. Using these skills students will develop competence in the preparation of; vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, soups, sauces, juices, herbs/spices and baked goods. They will then apply this competence to kitchen recipes and menu items.
Kitchen Equipment Use and identification
Students will gain experience using a variety of kitchen equipment, appliances, and utensils. They will learn safe operating techniques as well as when and what to use equipment for.
Student learning Objectives:
Upon successful completion students will be able to identify kitchen equipment, and demonstrate appropriate, safe use. Some of the equipment used will be; convection oven, stove, microwave, coffee roaster, mixers, juicer and dehydrator.
Effective Recipe and checklist Following
Students will learn to look at recipes and gather needed ingredients and materials. They will be taught to systematically follow the directions using the correct measurements and tools. Students will also be taught how to use checklists for food preparation and clean up.
*Adaptions will be made for non-reading students.
Student Learning Objectives:
Upon successful completion students will demonstrate ability to follow recipes as well as show competence in following prep/clean up checklists.
Food Purchasing and Food Storage
Students will learn how to take stock of needed ingredients and supplies, fill in shopping lists, identify which store/vendor to go to, interact appropriately and learn how to access public transit to get there and back safely.
Students will also learn how to store food properly using appropriate containers, they will learn about food rotation for freshness as well as dating and labeling.
Upon completion students will demonstrate ability to take stock of needed supplies, fill in shopping forms, make purchases using correct amount of mone ,receive change, communicate and interact with clerks, use a bus plan to navigate public transportation, properly store food, as well as demonstrate and understand the importance of labeling/ dating and food rotation.
Food Presentation and Serving the public
Students will learn how to display and serve menu items in a visually pleasing manner, using clean correct containers and vessels. They will also learn about keeping food at safe temperatures, use of gloves and keeping hands clean, following the guidelines of “Food Safe.”
Students will learn how to interact with the public, using necessary communication skills to serve food and drinks.
Upon completion students will be able to assemble and serve menu items in a consistent manner, using the correct size of containers and portions. Students will be able to keep food at safe temperatures by reading thermometers as well as be able to serve food using sanitary methods such as; using clean serving tools, keeping surfaces sterile, and hands washed and gloved.
Students will be able to greet guests, take orders, answer menu related questions and engage in appropriate “ small talk.”
Cleaning Dishwashing Recycling and Composting
Students will learn to clean the kitchen and equipment along with learning proper dish washing, recycling and composting skills.
Upon completion students will be able to follow kitchen cleaning checklists identifying which cleaning agents and tools to use and how to effectively clean; equipment, walls, floors, surfaces and sinks. They will be able to fill the three compartment sinks according to posted directions and be able to wash, rinse, sanitize air dry and put dishes away.
Students will be able to identify plastic, glass, tin, paper, and cardboard recycling and be able to sort them into correct bins.
Students will put food scraps into compost bin in the kitchen and empty into larger bin outside at the end of the day. Students will know how to add paper to compost when it is too moist, how to mix compost and how to use on garden when it is ready.
Students will learn how to roast, package serve coffee and fill orders by making deliveries to local businesses.
Upon completion students will be able to operate roasting equipment in a way that gives a consistent product. They will be able to package the coffee and put labels on it. Students will be able to serve coffee by the cup to customers at the kitchen as well as deliver cups of coffee to neighbors. Students will also access the public transit to deliver packages of coffee to local businesses.