Queens Connect is a collaboration among four community based organizations, Queens Community House, Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House, Ocean Bay Local Development Corporation, and Sunnyside Community Services, to train and prepare young adults for success in the food sector: food service, manufacturing, and retail.
The program targets 18–24 year olds who are unemployed or underemployed, are not connected to education or career processes, and need a clear plan for how to improve their employment opportunities. We are also open, and eager, to work with participants that are not yet proficient English speakers, as the food sector provides a good opportunity for this population to gain work experience.
Through our current culinary initiative, youth participate in a 6-week work readiness training period where they learn skills such as time management, interview preparation, decision making and communication. They also gain hands-on culinary training from a world-renowned chef and prepare for the New York City Department of Health’s Food Protection Certification Exam. At the conclusion of the training period, youth are placed in paid internships within the food service industry for 8 weeks. After the internship period, we assist youth in securing full-time employment.
In addition to providing opportunities for youth, Queens Connect also seeks to help local businesses. Through Queens Connect’s Employer Network, local businesses are able to attract and retain talented, driven employees passionate about starting their careers. Employers can also network with other businesses and promote their establishments to potential customers throughout the community.
Queens Connect Director