The young men and women moved quickly, careful not to dirty their crisp white shirts as they arranged colorful displays of chocolate, bread, fruit juices and vegetables outside the Zinni-Neal Community Center in Copán Ruinas, Honduras.
They were nervous and excited to take part in CI’s first Into Employment® Food Fair, an event organized to help them find jobs in the tourism industry. Copán’s ancient Mayan ruins make it a popular tourist destination, creating a high demand for job applicants with culinary and hospitality skills.
The teens presented business plans to sell their food products and held tastings for an audience that included a prominent chef, government and tourism officials, and local business owners.
By shining a light on two of Into Employment’s most popular curriculums, “Bar and Restaurant” and “Kitchen and Cuisine,” the fair aimed to help teens qualify for good jobs — or even start their own businesses.
Into Employment’s lessons are both practical and personal. “I’ve learned so much,” shares aspiring chef Jaime C. (16), as he set out his escabeche (marinated vegetables) for tasting. “Computer [training]; how to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint; how to make a budget — and life skills, such as changing one’s character, how to behave, respecting elders ... They teach us a lot.”
Helping teens find the right career — and earn a steady income from a stable job — is a crucial step on the path out of poverty. That’s why our Into Employment program matters so much.
Currently operating in seven countries, Into Employment connects the talents of our teens with the needs of their local marketplaces. Once our entrepreneurs have their “foot in the door,” they can rise as high as their skills and determination allow — fulfilling our goal of program graduates who are employed and empowered to break the cycle of poverty.