D’Avolio Culinary Institute offers free training and job placement for people with disabilities

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — For students at the D’Avolio Culinary Institute, a well rounded education starts in the kitchen.

“We can put them into different categories within the business so I have people who are doing prep, I have people who are doing managing, I have people who are doing other things within the kitchen,” said Dan Gagliardo, D’avolio Institute of Culinary Education Owner.

Students learn things like prep work and what it takes to be a line cook.

“We have had students in here that are hearing impaired and deaf, we’ve had visually impaired students believe it or not and they’ve been very successful. We’ve had students with cognitive disabilities and the autistic spectrum,” said Denise Poland, D’Avolio Institute of Culinary Education Director.

From learning disabilities to addiction, the program accommodates a wide range of students and gives many a second chance.

“I qualified to get funding for this program because I had problems in the past with drugs and alcohol and that’s what led me here essentially. I currently have 3 years clean,” said student Michael Medina.

Through ACCES-VR, disabled students are getting their education completely paid for through government funding. They’re in a 6 month program, working towards a diploma and ServSafe certification. The institute then helps students find jobs, in which the school has a 90 percent job placement rate.

“Our students may do better in certain things as opposed to other things so we find that out, we find the right job for them and we place them,” said Gagliardo.

In order to qualify for ACCES-VR, a documented disability and a barrier to employment are both requirements.

For more information go to: http://www.acces.nysed.gov/vr

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