The Jobs Café at Findlay Market will be a cluster of the adaptive reuse of several historic buildings in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine community. The Jobs Café at Findlay Market will create a stronger and more robust food economy by building the scale and capacity of local entrepreneurs and creating a pipeline of qualified and skilled workers to meet the growing employment demands of the food service industry. The Project will create at least 199 construction jobs; 30 – 80 permanent jobs; provide workforce training for 75-100 low-income persons interested in careers in hospitality, restaurants, and catering; 68 units of housing (of which 80% will be income restricted); and offer below-market retail and office space. The revitalization of the community will be achieved as its anchor institutions continue to be healthy foods access points, incubators of growth for small businesses, and a destination for entertainment.
Urban Action Community Development (UACD) provided $7MM in NMTC allocation for the Jobs Café at Findlay Market, which is the LEED certified adaptive reuse of 12 historic buildings and parking lots in Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine community. The 68k SF endeavor will support a host of uses including the creation of social enterprise restaurant and culinary arts training program, storefront and short-term pop-up retail space for members of the Findlay Kitchen and food entrepreneurs, office space, and 68 residential units (of which over 80% will be affordable and income restricted).
Even though Cincinnati has a strong and vibrant restaurant industry, there is a significant gap in the number of qualified skilled workers that can fill not only “front of the house”, but also “back of the house” positions in the restaurant, catering, and hospitality fields. To meet the needs of the local industry, the idea of the Jobs Café was born in partnership with Corporation for Findlay Market (CFFM) and CityLink. The Jobs Café will be operated as a restaurant and open to the public, but the difference is that it will incorporate a workforce development platform. The CFFM, which will operate the Jobs Café, is creating a curriculum that will be structured as an 8-week cohort of 20-25 participants that will learn soft skills (financial education, critical thinking, problem solving), hard skills (knife skills and menu practice), and earn actual restaurant experience. CityLink, a local social service provider will offer wrap-around services (i.e., housing and transportation assistance, counseling, job preparedness, etc.) to all the Jobs Café participants. Once participants complete the program they will receive a certificate (or a similar credential) and job placement for positions that pay a livable wage with benefits and other advancement opportunities within the local restaurant industry. The Jobs Café will create a qualified workforce pipeline of residents from Cincinnati’s low-income communities.