Cooking Up Careers: Empowering Individuals with Disabilities Through Culinary Training

Despite a rising trend, employment rates for individuals with disabilities remain significantly lower than those for people without disabilities. Addressing this disparity, a recent grant from The Westfield Foundation will help create an ADA-compliant kitchen to train individuals with disabilities in culinary and hospitality skills. This upgraded facility will ensure accessibility for all students and staff, and prepare them for careers in the culinary, hospitality, and travel fields.

Bernadette Griswold, Executive Director of CAU (Community Access Unlimited), expressed gratitude for The Westfield Foundation’s support: “CAU is especially grateful to The Westfield Foundation for their partnership in addressing the staggering unemployment rates for people with disabilities. CAU’s Culinary Hospitality Training Program furthers CAU’s mission to prepare the population we serve for successful careers based on their talents, interests and abilities. The Westfield Foundation’s support of the Culinary Hospitality Training Program not only stands to dramatically improve the wellbeing of individuals with disabilities, but also create a more inclusive, financially viable community.

The Westfield Foundation’s Executive Director, Katie Darcy, commented on the initiative: “We are proud to support CAU’s efforts in fostering confidence and creating opportunities for people with disabilities. This training program aligns with our mission to promote inclusivity and provide equal opportunities for all members of our community. By funding an organization focusing on disability inclusion, this initiative is not just about job training; it’s about transforming lives and building a more inclusive workforce. The impact of this program is expected to resonate far beyond the kitchen, setting a precedent for businesses to follow and proving that inclusivity is a recipe for success.”

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