Young residents of Austin/Travis County who are interested in job skills training and employment opportunities can find them with Workforce Solutions Capital Area and partners like Goodwill Central Texas. Brianna Pleasant discovered just such an opportunity in 2019 and today is exploring a future in Austin’s culinary world.

In March 2019, Brianna visited a friend at her former high school. While there, Brianna met her friend’s counselor, who talked with Brianna about support services available at Goodwill.

“She said I might try the program, because it could help me get my driver’s license and a job within a specific field,” Brianna said.

At Goodwill, Brianna met with Shaun-Patrice Williams, In School Youth Career Case Manager. Together, they explored opportunities for Brianna to continue her education and in-demand occupations to pursue as a future career in Austin’s skilled workforce.

Brianna completed her CAT training with Goodwill, and next interned at the Central Texas Food Bank from July to October. While there, she completed the Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program, a 12-week mix of classroom time and hands-on job training for basic culinary skills. The program provides real-world experience in the Food Bank’s kitchen, where students like Brianna work with commercial equipment and food production. Brianna also received transportation assistance from Goodwill to go to and from her training and internship.Goodwill Central Texas offers a variety of job-readiness training programs, such as Career Advancement Training (CAT). CAT includes a five-day, immersive boot camp, utilizing hands-on activities that are designed to prepare job seekers to find and retain employment. CAT offers financial literacy training, resume and mock interview training, and more.

While participating, Brianna completed 30 hours of food safety training and earned the ServSafe Food Handler’s certification. Her internship was a paid one, “which helped me to save money for a car,” Brianna said.

With her training complete and her internship successfully concluded, Brianna began job searching—and quickly found work at Jeffrey’s, a New American restaurant in west Austin.

“On my graduation day, I started my job as a pastry line cook at Jeffrey’s,” Brianna said. “My day goes by in increments of 23 minutes as I bake bread for the ever-growing crowds of hungry customers. I also make cheese boards, the most popular dessert we offer.”

What’s next for Brianna? Plans for home ownership and continuing her culinary education!

“I’m considering getting a second job and moving into a home of my own while finishing up my driver’s license. I’m also considering joining Austin Community College’s culinary program to further my education in the culinary world, and possibly 3-D design, too,” said Brianna.

About WIOA Youth
WIOA Youth is part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program funded through Workforce Solutions Capital Area. WIOA is a no-cost employment program designed to give job seekers the support and/or skills training they need to find a job. WIOA offers financial assistance to eligible individuals for job search assistance, training, and other support services.

We served 371 youth through this program in 2019. Visit our WIOA page to learn more.

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