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First Course NYC for Businesses

Restaurant Cook Training Program

First Course NYC is a 14-week culinary job training program designed to help meet industry demand for qualified entry-level restaurant cooks.

The program is delivered in partnership with respected full-service NYC restaurants, with the intention that they will retain apprentices who demonstrate their commitment and the ability to learn and improve.

Program Details

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How First Course NYC Works

  1. Apprentices complete eight weeks (280 hours) of rigorous pre-employment culinary skills and job preparedness training led by culinary and restaurant professionals.
  2. Apprentices are hired by partnering full-service NYC restaurants to complete six additional weeks (210 hours) of paid on-the-job training in their kitchens with 50% of training wages reimbursed at completion of the training period.
  3. Upon successful completion of the full 14-week program, apprentices who have proven their commitment and ability to progress are retained in full-time positions as entry-level cooks in their host kitchens.

How Will Your Restaurant Benefit?

  • Meets your ongoing need for qualified entry-level kitchen talent.
  • Saves your business valuable time and resources by recruiting, screening, and preparing individuals for entry into your kitchen.
  • Helps create a supportive learning culture in your kitchen by providing an opportunity for non-managerial team members to learn new training and leadership skills.
  • Provides behind-the-scenes support to apprentices and kitchen supervisory staff during the on-the-job training period to encourage success and retention.

Participating Employer Requirements

  • Must be a full-service NYC restaurant permitted by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Must be in compliance with all relevant local, state, and federal employment and labor laws
  • Must provide proof of all required business insurance coverages, including commercial general liability, workers compensation, and disability
  • Must utilize an up-to-date Employee Handbook
  • Must be willing and able to deliver a structured six-week, on-the-job training experience, and provide the ongoing oversight and feedback required by the program
  • Must commit to driving retention of their apprentice at completion of the 14-week program in a full-time, entry-level cook position commensurate with their ability

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many training sessions are scheduled, and how many students participate in each cohort? A total of four cohorts are scheduled each year with approximately 25 students in each cohort.
  2. How are candidates recruited for the program? We market this program to potential candidates throughout the city using social media, local community partners, industry organizations, and the city's Workforce1 Career Center system to name a few.
  3. Can I participate as a program partner providing on-the-job training without committing to hiring my apprentice at completion? Due to the ongoing industry labor shortage, this program works with businesses that have an ongoing need for qualified talent. Participating businesses must commit to the goal of moving their apprentice(s) into full-time cook positions upon successful completion of training.
  4. Who delivers the pre-employment training and what curriculum do they use? The training is delivered by restaurant industry professionals using a curriculum developed by culinary education professionals in collaboration with NYC restaurant chefs.
  5. Is this program open to restaurants citywide? Yes, any NYC restaurant can become a future program employer partner if it meets the participation criteria listed above. As the program expands, additional qualified restaurants that express interest will be assessed as new partners.

Want to Learn More?

For additional program details, or to schedule a virtual program presentation, complete our interest form.

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