The RE-GENERATE OPPORTUNITY INITIATIVE was launched by Mandela Partners in 2019 to address barriers to employment among re-entry individuals in Alameda County. In partnership with Core Kitchen -- a produce-centered restaurant and kitchen incubator in downtown Oakland -- the Re-Generate Opportunity Initiative provides food-based job training and work experience opportunities to build a broad range of skills in the high-demand food and hospitality sector, with a specific focus on Prep Cooks, Line Cooks, and Kitchen Management positions. In addition to bridging the gap between program participants and an industry with a growing workforce demand, the Re-Generate Opportunity Initiative also seeks to strengthen relationships between job workforce development agencies and locally owned food-based businesses. This initiative was made possible with seed funding made available through the California Workforce Development Board and the Employment Development Department.

Here’s how the program works: 


1) Mandela Partners collaborates with workforce development partners to recruit re-entry candidates interested in participating in the Re-Generate Opportunity training program. 

2) At Core Kitchen, participants get hands-on training and mentorship -- covering food safety, kitchen skills, customer service and hospitality, and essential technologies used in food-service and the workplace.

3) Once the initial training is complete, program participants are placed in 'work experience' trainings inside live kitchens - at participating food businesses from Mandela's network - to build live kitchen and food service skills experience to add to their resumes. 

4) Program graduates then gain access to broader workforce network to secure full-time employment.

All program participants receive stipends, bus passes, non-slip kitchen shoes, and a safeserv certificate.