Education Spotlight: Café provides lunch, employee opportunities

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In ABC30's segment, Education Spotlight, Action News Anchor Landon Burke will talk with Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) officials about some of the biggest topics in education.

A local eatery offers customers lunches and employees life skills. Landon Burke learned about Wired Café and its mission to provide opportunities.

Landon: Explain what Wired is for someone who doesn't know.

Cindy: Wired is a place of learning, and it is owned and operated by the special education department of Merced County Office of Education. And it provides a safe, comfortable learning space for our students and adults. We have worked with some adult programs with special needs, and they are given the opportunity to come in and learn and practice the skills because the students and adults that we work with need extra time, extra opportunities, extra practice, so they can be prepared to take those skills to another place.

Landon: What are some of the skills that students learn at Wired?

Cindy: First and foremost is food safety. So all the students will, before they come in and start in the kitchen, they will earn their food safety training certificates, and once they have done that we do a lot of hands on learning with also book learning about knife safety, all the things that make sure we serve safe food, but not just that, they also learn about the whole food service industry, and what employers look for. Employers want employees that are dependable, and understand that when they're scheduled to work, they show up for work on time, so we really focus on the students learning those soft skills.

Cindy: And I would add on to that just by saying that they also learn social skills. Because for many of our students with special needs, that's a challenging area for them and so they learned a lot of social skills needed to work in the food service or hospitality industry.

Landon: What is the long term goal for the students that you guys train at Wired?

Cindy: One, and most importantly, I think, is to give our students self worth. I mean everybody wants to feel needed, everybody wants to feel useful. Our students want to contribute as well. And so our long term goal was to give them the skills so they can go out and do that and become employable. And we teach all the skills that Lori talked about, and they are able to take that and apply it, you know, we call them "transfer skills" into a different setting.

Lori: It's been very rewarding working with the students and the adults that we have here, and I would just like to invite everybody to come in, into Wired and to see them and see how well they do.
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