Monday, March 30, 2015

Just in time for Restaurant Week, nine adult learners celebrated the completion of their successful training as professional food and beverage servers through a job training program that is a quick path to careers and industry credentials.

Wait Pro is one of several free programs through ACE New Haven. ACE (Accelerating Connections to Employment) a local partnership between Gateway Community College and Workforce Alliance, the workforce investment board serving South Central Connecticut.  In its three years, ACE New Haven will train over 200 students and track them into employment.

Vicki Bozzuto, Dean of the Continuing Education and Workforce Development division of Gateway Community College, congratulated the students. All ACE programs are non-credit and short-term, but do connect to higher level credit programs offered at the college.

“Each graduate is armed and ready to join the hospitality industry in the Greater New Haven area,” Dean Bozzuto said.

Each  Wait Pro student was awarded a certificate of completion from Gateway Community College in addition to nationally recognized certifications; ServeSafe® Food Handler Training, ServeSafe® Responsible Alcohol Service and ServeSafe® Manager Training.  Each student completed a minimum of 80 hours of internship at local restaurants such as Soul De Cuba and Barcelona, plus classroom training and regular lunch service Gateway’s Café Vincenzo.

Rose Ramsey was the student speaker, whom many referred to as “Momma Rose.”  Rose’s speech was well received by the audience filled with family, friends, instructors, public officials, and representatives from local businesses such as First Niagara Bank and Goodwill Easter Seals plus staff from Workforce Alliance, CT Works and Gateway.

“Our goals are different,” said Ramsey. “Some of us want to have our own catering businesses, some bartenders, some bartender/waiters. We all came out knowing a lot more than before about food and drink and how to manage a restaurant.”

Accelerating Connections to Employment is a nationwide job training initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. All ACE New Haven trainings at Gateway Community College are offer at no cost to students and include industry certifications, internships and job development. Students also receive extra support during training such as transportation assistance, and every ACE program is co-taught by subject matter experts with basic skills instructions.

ACE New Haven continues to recruit for upcoming no cost trainings that begin in May and June, including Community Health Worker, IT Help Desk Trainee, Small Engine Repair & Technology and Basic Automotive Service or Lube Technician trainings. Prospective students begin their ACE application by attending an orientation session Monday or Wednesday at 9:30 AM at Gateway Community College, 20 Church Street, New Haven or 1 PM on Thursdays at Workforce Alliance/CTWorks, 560 Ella T. Grasso Blvd., New Haven. All eligible candidates for each program are included in a random selection drawing for open seats. Detailed program information can be found at and click on ACE.