The word “kula” means “an intentional community”- a community where people strive together with a common vision. The Kula Café provides the building blocks, physical location and spirit of opportunity for the creation of an intentional community within the West Side neighborhood of Asbury Park. At the Kula Café, participants and residents will work towards the common goal of creating a better future – for themselves, for their neighbors, for their community, and for their children. In a neighborhood that faces significant unemployment, poverty, and the need for specialized training opportunities, Kula Café gives participants and residents the opportunity to work together in the community and for the community. Just as importantly, the Kula Café will be a community minded program, which will elicit community input, seek participants from the community, locate within the community and give back to the community from its inception.
The Kula Café will offer a paid training site and workplace for young adults facing significant barriers to employment but who have the desire and willingness to create change in their lives. Too often circumstances, such as inadequate transportation, lack of role models, criminal histories, and a profound inability to envision a brighter future, entrench individuals living in communities like the West Side neighborhood and render them unable to see a viable path forward to self sufficiency, success and independence. Through its entrepreneurial approach, the Kula Café training program will work with participants to address obstacles to employment with patience, planning and experience in a manner that a traditional training program may not be in a position to offer – through an extended program time, hands on experience offered in a supportive setting, daily community and neighborhood participation in polishing skills and attitudes, experienced staff dedicated to participant success as a primary goal, and predetermined matching of training to local job opportunities and needs.
The Kula Café Training Program will be 16 weeks in duration – 4 weeks of job readiness training, 8 weeks of hands on experience in the Kula Café, and 4 weeks of paid internship with local restaurants, allowing business owners to see the skills the participants have learned.
Participants will build self-confidence necessary for successful employment. Participants will learn skills needed to obtain and retain employment, and learn how to deal effectively with issues in the workplace. Participants will overcome barriers to employment prior to and during the program so that successful job placement results. Participants will learn skills necessary to excel in customer service within the hospitality industry but also applicable to most other work environments. Participants will be placed in restaurant or other hospitality industry jobs for an internship at the conclusion of the training program while receiving ongoing support and assistance from the Kula Café training program staff, employment mentors and fellow participants. Paid training stipends and successful placements will provide participants with the opportunity to financially sustain themselves and their dependents.
If you would like to become a part of the Kula Café Program, please visit the cafe during business hours, or call (732) 455-0514, and ask to speak to Wendy Escobedo or James McNulty. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.