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In an effort to introduce the scope of Ohio Valley Goodwill’s programs designed to help individuals with disabilities obtain community employment, we are presenting a series of blog stories that focus on each of the Goodwill programs that help to tell that story. The first program that will be introduced is Goodwill’s Food Service Training. Directed by Chef Alison McElfresh, the Food Services Training program offers students the opportunity to develop the skills necessary for successful competitive employment. Chef Alison is uniquely qualified to design individual plans based on her training and experience as a chef, teacher and work evaluation professional. McElfresh began her culinary career while working to obtain her degree in Education. A graduate of Transylvania University, McElfresh then chose to pursue her dream of becoming a professional chef by attending a formal culinary training program affiliated with the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Alison’s culinary background includes experience in fine dining, catering and in a variety of diverse settings. McElfresh’s transition to working with individuals with disabilities and a return to the education field took place several years later. Following her stint in educational testing and tutoring where she had the opportunity to work closely with students with learning disabilities, McElfresh made her way to Ohio Valley Goodwill in the role of a Work Evaluation professional. Fortunately, for Goodwill, McElfresh was later able to marry her passions for the culinary arts and working with individuals with disabilities when she assumed her role as head Chef of the organization’s Food Services Training program in 2008. Goodwill’s Food Services Training program serves an average of 25 individuals each year, who subsequently graduate and obtain employment in the community. Each student’s program is custom tailored to reflect their individual needs, skills and abilities as well as their long-term goals. The training program itself lasts an average of 12 weeks. Chef Alison and her staff work closely with the participants to ensure that they reach their maximum potential. Due to Chef Alison’s extensive background in the Food Service industry, the program is designed to ensure that the participants are prepared for real-world employer expectations. Individuals that enroll in Goodwill’s Food Services Training program are typically referred by the Rehabilitation Services Commission and the Veterans Administration. For more information about Goodwill’s Food Services Training Program, please contact Chef Alison McElfresh at (513) 771-4800 or email: email@example.com.