| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – The need for trained culinary professionals is increasing in the region and a new apprentice program funded by a grant is designed to help meet that need.
Todd Snopkowski, founder and CEO of Snapchef, was joined by Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta, Mayor Domenic Sarno and Jeffrey Sullivan, chair of the board of directors of the Regional Employment Board (REB) for the announcement on Sept. 28 of the $225,000 grant from the REB.
Snapchef, which has six locations in new England with the Springfield branch located on Worthington Street, trains and places culinary personnel. The grant will allow for the training of 75 people who Snopkowski said will go from “zero experience to a lead cook in three years.”
He described Snapchef as not a temp agency or a day labor agency for the culinary industry, but rather a company “that can give people the skills and tools they need for a career path.”
Snopkowski said he has seen the effectiveness of culinary apprentice programs in Europe and wants to use them here.
“I’m really excited to get it going,” Snopkowski said the program.
Sullivan said the principal complaint employers have is there are not enough qualified applicants. The grant to Snapchef is part of a new effort to give employers what they need to grow.
According to the National Restaurant Association, 38 percent of restaurant operators have said, “recruiting and retaining employees” is the number-one challenge currently facing their business.
Last year, Snapchef was responsible for providing over 1,300 people with jobs in Massachusetts’ culinary industry.
“Just like a great meal, you bring a lot of tasteful ingredients together as one. Here we’ve done it again, with this strong continued partnership with our Regional Employment Board, Gov. Baker’s Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta, and the innovative and creative Snapchef. We’re very pleased and excited to have Snapchef here in Springfield and thank them for their belief and investment in our city – ‘my administration is all about creating jobs!,’” said Sarno.