Workforce Training Cafe Coming to Former Koinonia Coffee House in 2019 | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Workforce Training Cafe Coming to Former Koinonia Coffee House in 2019

Refill Cafe Project Leader Jordan Butler presented at Friday Forum on May 25 at the former Koinonia Coffee House.

Refill Cafe Project Leader Jordan Butler presented at Friday Forum on May 25 at the former Koinonia Coffee House. Photo by Marie Weidmayer

— The former Koinonia Coffee House was full on the morning of Friday, May 25, as community members attended the weekly Friday Forum where Jordan Butler, project leader for Refill Cafe, presented about the initiative.

When Refill Cafe opens, in the beginning of 2019, it will be a workforce-training cafe and will pay the young adults involved, Butler said.

"The program that we're working on is to help young adults, ages about 18 to 24, tap into their strength and realize their potential through the power of work," Butler said.

Refill Cafe will accept participants regardless of criminal records and high school diplomas, as long as those accepted show up every day, Butler said. She also said the goal is for Refill Cafe to have mental-health services in house and a social worker to help participants.

Refill Cafe is operating under a planning grant from the Kellogg Foundation through Aug. 31,. The cafe is working on completing an implementation grant through the Kellogg Foundation, Butler told the Jackson Free Press.

While the project is still in planning stages, the plan is for participants to spend about eight weeks doing various job training and classroom instruction in preparation for entering the workforce.

It is modeled after a similar venture, Cafe Reconcile in New Orleans, which opened in 2000. Butler spent eight weeks there learning about the operations.

She said one of the most important parts of Refill Cafe will be its partnerships with Jackson organizations because it will create a network of businesses to help program graduates, as well as offer services to those currently in the program.

"The most important piece of this program has nothing to do with learning food service," co-founder Grady Griffin said. "It is all about the social support work that is going to help these young people get back on the right path in being successful in whatever they want to do."

Refill Cafe is looking for partnerships with people and corporations in Jackson that are interested in providing support for the program and employment for graduates, Butler said.

"We want them to be successful and proud of themselves, and full of everything that makes individuals happy to be out on their own and successful in whatever they want to do," Griffin said.

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