Diane Forsberg, sales and marketing manager at The Capital Grille in downtown Minneapolis, had an idea. She learned about a mentorship program offered by Darden Restaurants, parent company of The Capital Grille which gives people with disabilities valuable work skills. So, Forsberg contacted Courage Center to see if their clients would be interested in participating in a Disability Mentoring Day hosted by the restaurant.
Forsberg and her team identified multiple restaurant areas in which Courage Center's job search clients could do job shadowing. Her team worked closely with Courage Center's Tanya Dyer, vocational evaluator to plan the day's schedule.
Eight Courage Center clients participated in Disability Mentoring Day on November 10. Prior to the day, they had reviewed a job description for the job shadowing role they would be observing. The day started out with a tour of the restaurant and then clients broke off and shadowed restaurant employees in the roles of chef, kitchen prep, busser, host, bar back, dishwasher, sales and marketing and front house management. They worked side-by-side with their mentor through The Capital Grille's lunch rush. After their shift, clients had a chance to eat and recap their day.
Each client received a certificate, contact information for The Capital Grill, a mug and photo of them working. Feedback from The Capital Grille staff was positive and the experience for Courage Center clients was amazing. One client said he didn't know if he could work in a fast paced restaurant again, but now felt comfortable that he could return to work. Another said it was motivating and felt good to be needed. Each client shared what an interesting experience it was and how it helped him or her increase their confidence in their skill set and boost their self-esteem.
About Courage Center -Courage Center is a Minnesota-based nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center that advances the lives of children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence. At Courage Center, we specialize in treating brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, chronic pain, autism, and disabilities experienced since birth. Founded in 1928, Minneapolis-based Courage Center offers advanced technologies and innovation provided in part through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and donors. For more information visit www.CourageCenter.org