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Immigrant Career Pathways Initiative

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Immigrant Career Pathways Initiative

Hartford Public Library, Conn.

Workforce and Economic Development | 2018 | Top Innovator

Innovation Synopsis

Career Pathways offers free training for immigrants to work in food, tourism and hospitality industries by providing classes and certifications in food preparation and services, job readiness and internships in kitchens for on-the-job training. The goal of the project is to promote economic integration and access to meaningful job opportunities.


Unemployment, underemployment and the lack of required certifications for management level positions is a challenge facing immigrants seeking entry level positions or promotional opportunities. English language proficiency is also a challenge and barrier to employment. This unique program enables people to learn job skills in actual job sites, gain career guidance, earn certifications, build English language proficiency and contribute to the economic development of our city and region.

Key Elements of Innovation

There are two levels of classes:

  1. Participants with little or no experience seeking entry level positions. They receive 30 hours of classroom training using National Restaurant Association curriculum, and spend 27 hours working in local kitchens.
  2. Experienced participants seeking management positions and qualify to take ServSafe certification test from the NRA. They spend 12 hours in the classroom and 45 hours in kitchens.

Participants also receive ELL instruction and business planning training.

Achieved Outcomes


  • Learn job skills required for specific work
  • Improve English language proficiency
  • Find employment (many were hired by the participating project partners, including Hartford Public Schools)
  • Gain entrepreneurial skills and assistance to start their own business (food truck, restaurant)
  • Earn ServSafe certification