A few community members got to take part in hospitality training recently that included knife skills, hosting guests, cooking techniques and more last week.
Alexia Ault, project director at Mountain Training Network, said the training not only helped the trainees but hopes to improve communities.
“This is a grant funded project through the Appalachian regional commission and the Appalachian Impact fund at The Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky,” said Ault, “This is the third training that’s part of the Mountain Training Network which is a workforce development grant though Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.”
The third of these trainings took place at the Hazard Community and Technical College campus in Perry County.
“This week we’ve had four trainees from Perry and Harlan counties who are learning a lot of new skills from our chef trainer Ranada Riley and our front of house trainer Elizabeth Monahan, they’re both from Ranada’s Bistro in Lexington, Kentucky,” Ault said.
Riley and Monahan both said that they enjoyed being in the area the culture of the community.
“It’s just amazing, there’s so much talent here and people are so eager to learn,” said Riley. “If I did not have the restaurant in Lexington I would come here.”
The trainees are set to receive more than the skills they acquired through the experience.
“Each of those trainees are not only receiving a certificate of completion and continuing education credit through Hazard Community and Technical College but they’re also receiving a stipend for their time,” said Ault, “One of the cool things that happened this week is one of our trainees was actually hired by our trainers, so (Riley) is going to train him as her apprentice and teach him all that she knows.”
The individual who was hired as part of the training is Carson Williams Lucero.
Both Riley and Monahan said that they hope the communities of Appalachia make incentives for entrepreneurs so that new businesses can thrive in the area. Ault added that economic development is a goal of the program. “Downtown revitalization and economic development is a big part of our discussion as we’re doing these trainings not only hands on training like learning how to do knife skills,” said Ault. “These aren’t only trainings that help enrich the skills of the people who are taking these but the trainings also help support economic development of the communities where we work, so we’ve worked in Harlan County, Letcher County and now Perry County.”