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Helping Students Feed their Hunger for a FaB Career

Posted by Dan Depies on May 13, 2015

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On April 22 Vincent High School (part of the Milwaukee Public Schools) hosted the 2nd Annual Farm-Factory-Fork Career Exploration. FaB Wisconsin*, Goodwill and 24 other employers inspired 140 students from three high schools who are interested in pursuing food and beverage employment opportunities.

Goodwill's Worfkforce Development, Culinary Training and TalentBridge team membersIt was an amazing morning:

  • Fueled by personal food stories shared by industry professionals
  • Sprinkled with a little fame and fortune, aka Maya Warren, PhD Student in the Food Science program UW Madison and winner of the 2014 Amazing Race
  • Lightened by the Racing Sausages
  • Elevated by engaging employers and students
  • Peppered by young curious minds asking smart questions, and having fun

Derek Small, Culinary Operations Manager at Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, was part of a five member panel of industry experts. He provided his food story and the importance of a strong work ethic. The panel certainly engaged the students. One student proclaimed, you’ve all inspired me to a career in the Food and Beverage industry.

FaB Career event held April 22, 2015Goodwill’s team of Workforce Development, Culinary Training, and Goodwill TalentBridge (staffing service) manned a table in the career exploration zone, where the students had a chance to mingle with 25 businesses, sample products, and see a variety of food science and food processing demonstrations. Goodwill’s focus was on employability skills and how we utilize our various operations. These operations provide the needed environment to help individuals learn not only the technical skills but also the foundational work and life skills needed for a career in the Food and Beverage industry.

Did you know southeast Wisconsin has the highest concentration of workers in the food industry? Goodwill is happy to be a key part of the FaB Careers Committee (made up of industry, educational, and workforce providers) that focuses on developing and maintaining a strong talent pipeline that will drive a strong economy in southeast Wisconsin.  It’s a career path that will never go out of style, because everyone needs to eat.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact me at ddepies@goodwillsew.com.


*FaB Wisconsin is the State of Wisconsin’s food and beverage industry cluster network, with a mission of making the region the best place to innovate, expand or locate your food or beverage operation and enjoy a rewarding industry career.

Written by Dan Depies

Dan Depies, Vice President of Workforce and Program Development oversees a large portion of Goodwill’s core mission of Transforming Lives through the Power of Work. Dan has been with Goodwill for 4 years, joining in June 2010. Previously, Dan spent 14 years in Management Consulting supporting clients in Manufacturing, Health Care, and Financial Service industries with IT systems, process, and new product launch projects. Dan is a board member of Wisconsin Business Growth Fund, is a member of Executive Agenda and the WICPA, and is an active volunteer in Boy Scouts, youth sports, and SafeKids Coalition.
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