The Word on Workforce: 7.12.22

More than Just Ice Cream - On-the-Job Training

More than Just Ice Cream - On-the-Job Training

Pops of color fill your eyeline when you walk through the Ice Cream Company doors to enter into the dining room. From soft lavender to sweet pistachio green, the inviting colors bring a youthful joy to the atmosphere. What a dream come true it must be to be a child walking into this establishment for a sweet treat!


But this establishment is so much more than an inviting and fun ice cream shop and restaurant. Since 2019, the Ice Cream Company has functioned under the non-profit, Enrich & Employ, to provide job skills training in a functioning restaurant to those who have barriers to employment.


Those engaged in job skills training may have a special need, recently completed a recovery program, or may be an English Language Learner. The trainees/employees are hired on through a referral process from local non-profits like Learning Quest, United Cerebral Palsy of Stanislaus County, Redwood Family Center, and Downtown Streets Team.


“We work with non-profits who can work through those first barriers like their drug addiction or homelessness, and then when they are ready to move into employment, we are the next step to their career and more stable employment. That is where we function.” – Bonnie Acree, Executive Director & Former Owner


In order to help facilitate the training program developed by The Ice Cream Company, Stanislaus County Workforce Development has partnered with the company’s non-profit, Enrich & Employ, to help offset the cost of these services through On-the-Job training (OJT).


“It takes a little bit longer. It takes two people to train, and that’s true with any restaurant and business, but because this is what we do- we have more costs associated with that. Working with Workforce Development is just helping us to be able to cover those costs and stretch our dollars to help more people get trained.” – Bonnie Acree.


On-the-Job training (OJT) is a county-wide program through Stanislaus County Workforce Development that assists businesses with the costs of training by reimbursing the business up to 75% of wages paid to the employee during the training period.* The OJT allows for the employee to learn specific skills that will enable them to achieve employment success.


The expected outcome is that the employee will provide stable employment for no less than 12 months after the end of the OJT, and the employer has an employee that has learned new skills that will allow for the business to be competitive. This training can be customized to the needs of the business – just like the Ice Cream Company has done! Through this partnership, the Ice Cream Company employees have been given the opportunity to start learning valuable skills in entry-level positions that help them go on to grow and develop within the restaurant to other positions such as Purchaser, Restaurant Manager, and Food Services Supervisor.


Out of the employees who joined the training program through referrals, 85.7% of them have successfully finished the program to completion.

The Ice Cream Company is much more than just an ice cream shop, it is a training ground to build skills, bring hope, and change lives.


Currently, Stanislaus County Workforce Development is working with the Ice Cream Company and Stanislaus County Office of Education to create a long-term training program to become an Eligible Training Provider for the county.


*Employee & employer eligibility requirements do apply

Enrich & Employ is a local nonprofit that works to remove barriers to employment by providing job skills training in a functioning restaurant.

(209) 578-3112 |


For a pdf of the article, click here. 

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