The Kula Cafe is home to good food at fair prices, as well as hard workers who are training to work in the hospitality industry. The paid training program takes the unemployment issue in Asbury Park and turns it into a community of empowered skilled workers. Participants and customers work together towards the common goal of creating a better future, all while serving up fresh food in a comfortable and friendly environment.
If you haven't watched our video yet, take a look and hear Christian's story. One of the Kula Cafe program's graduates, he's used the program to launch his career. Your support will help us to engage and train more young people like Christian and set them on a path for success.
A community driven social enterprise, Kula Cafe is a different approach in addressing high levels of unemployment among Asbury Park area young adults. Through partnerships with the booming restaurant and tourism businesses on the east side of Asbury Park, the Kula Café positions area youth to be successful employees and connects them directly to employers with open positions.
With a job placement rate of 94% and a one year job retention rate of 86%, we know the Kula Cafe program puts our program participants on track for success.
The Kula Café concept incorporates two main functions. Local participants move through a structured program of life and employment skill training to build confidence, a spirit of giving back to the community and a service industry skill set which is transferrable to all areas of interest. Additionally, the cafe is open to the public allowing trainees to learn customer service skills through hands-on training serving paying customers while generating revenue to offset the cost of the training program.
The word kula, from Sanskrit, means “an intentional community” and “a community of the heart” - a community where people strive together with a common vision. The Kula Café provides the building blocks and location for the creation of an intentional community within the West Side neighborhood of Asbury Park where residents can work towards a better future – for themselves, for their neighborhood, for their community, and for their children.
In addition to better meeting the basic needs of the unemployed and undermployed work force, Kula Café fulfills a significant need in Asbury Park and the surrounding communities for the skilled individuals that come out of this program. The eastside of Asbury Park and other shore communities have experienced profound growth in successful restaurants and retail operations. Yet, these new businesses experience great difficulty in trying to hire local capable and competent retail, wait, kitchen staff and host/hostesses. The Kula Café concept brings together the needs of the working community with the needs of the business community.
Since the program launched in 2013, the Kula Cafe Training Program trained 110 participants. Currently, the program trains between 20 and 30 participants each year.
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For more information about the Kula Cafe or Interfaith Neighbors, visit www.interfaithneighbors.org.