Monadnock Developmental Services announces that, following the graduation of its current class in May, it will discontinue First Course, the culinary job training program founded four years ago to provide employment skills for people in disadvantaged circumstances.
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Alan Greene, Executive Director of MDS, reports: “It is with deep regret that we make this decision. But in this current economic climate, we need to stop funding a project that was intended to become self-sustaining but which hasn’t.”

Greene explains: “We started First Course when the economy was booming, when jobs in the hospitality industry were hard to fill. We’re now in a protracted recession. Given that, and with budget crises in both Concord and Washington, our responsibility to the people we serve is even more critical. We’re in good financial shape, and we want to stay that way. Unfortunately, First Course has not been able to become self-sustaining, as we originally envisioned, which has led us to make this tough decision.”

First Course was founded in 2007 as a collaboration among four local nonprofit agencies – MDS, the Keene Housing Authority, Monadnock Family Services, and Southwestern Community Services. The four partners contributed startup funding and service support, but as lead partner and fiscal agent, MDS has carried the burden of financial and operational responsibility in recent years.

The fifteenth and final class of trainees will graduate in May, bringing the total number of First Course graduates to 48.  Of those graduating, more than 85% have found employment in the food services field.

In addition to its unique training program for individuals, First Course has provided daily cafeteria services at Timken, and nutritious meals for Keene Head Start, the Monadnock Adult Care Center and Brantwood Camp. These activities, along with First Course catering, were intended to create revenue to offset expenses while providing services to a population in need. MDS will continue to provide Head Start and senior meals until appropriate arrangements are made.

For more information, please contact Alan Greene, 603-352-1304 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.