Westside Works: Providing Culinary Opportunities
Westside Works is a neighborhood-based workforce collaborative, looking to transform the Westside community and Greater Metro Atlanta through increased access to job training, education services and good jobs.
Westside Works offers multiple areas of programming for Westside residents who want to learn a skill or trade, including training in child development, construction, nursing, education, information technology and culinary arts.
Through funding from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Westside Works Culinary Academy, is hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in partnership with Levy Restaurants. It’s a six-week course that educates students on kitchen safety protocols, international cuisine, baking, culinary, math and restaurant simulations. Academy students also have the opportunity to receive Serve Safe Certification and, as graduates, will have paths to employment through Levy Restaurants venues, as well as restaurants and dining destinations throughout Metro Atlanta.
“This program has made me feel more vibrant and energetic while also helping me showcase my creativity,” said Latavius Neeley-Moore, a culinary student whose wife graduated from the program and inspired him to join. “I enjoy making people happy with food, and my dream is to open my own restaurant and create an environment where people love coming to work.”
Some academy graduates are now employed within the Blank Family of Businesses, and some are game-day staff that regularly demonstrate their skills at the two West Nest food stall locations in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Thanks to the Westside Culinary Academy, Atlanta residents enter the program as students with dreams and leave as skilled culinary personnel with goals and opportunities.