St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara was on hand Nov. 14 at the county jail as seven inmates graduate from a unique culinary training program called “Inmate to Workmate.”
ARAMARK Correctional Services, the Sheriff’s Office’s jail foodservice provider, created and taught “Inmate to Workmate” beginning in September at the jail.
This will be the jail’s first graduation ceremony.
It took take place at the jail’s “Café Getaway,” a cooperative project of ARAMARK Correctional Services and the staff of the St. Lucie County jail. Café Getaway is a 1950s-diner-retro-themed employee dining area. Renovations took place over the past several months with donated materials and the participation of jail staff and ARAMARK.
“If individuals do not have job prospects or skills when they’re released from jail, they may be at risk of re-offending,” said Sheriff Mascara. “The Inmate to Workmate training program is helping us empower graduates with job skills and certification that can lead to meaningful and productive lives when they are released from jail.”
ARAMARK Correctional Services created “Inmate to Workmate” to answer the national need for inmate–training programs. “Given today’s tight budgets, training budgets are dwindling, and correctional facilities are finding it financially difficult to provide inmates life-skills and vocational training,” said Mark Lashley, Vice President of Florida Operations for ARAMARK Correctional Services. “The program adds no extra cost to taxpayers and ultimately benefits the local community with an increase in the number of trained workers with industry-recognized certification.”
According to Ron Harris, ARAMARK lead trainer, the 90-day program provides on-the-job training as well as classroom instruction in proper food production skills.
Graduates from the program receive their Safe Staff certification, a three-year food handler certificate program recognized by the State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. When the seven graduates leave the St. Lucie County Jail, they will be qualified for meaningful employment, a key factor in reducing recidivism.
Those accepted into the program are non-violent offenders who have been nominated by detention deputies.
About ARAMARK Correctional Services (ACS): Through its Correctional Services group, ARAMARK provides a wide range of food, facility and other support solutions to more than 550 correctional facilities in North America. ACS prepares 380,000,000 meals annually and offers state, county and city correctional facilities a single source provider for food service management, commissary services, laundry management, facilities management and community-based Meals on Wheels programs. With nearly 30 years experience serving corrections, public safety and community services institutions, ACS is the oldest and largest provider of managed service solutions in these markets.