The Center for Head Injury Services. Donna Gunning, M.Ed., CRC, LPC Executive Director

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1 The Center for Head Injury Services Donna Gunning, M.Ed., CRC, LPC Executive Director

2 The Center for Head Injury Services Over 26 years serving the St. Louis community 17 specialized programs $3.8 million annual budget Serves over 1000 clients and families a year Partner with over 125 area business

3 The Center for Head Injury Services Our mission is to help people with brain injury, autism and other disabilities reach their maximum potential by building skills, creating opportunities and forging brighter futures. Our vision is that The Center will be known for helping clients lead lives as productive as possible and for its individualized, innovative solutions. The Missouri-based Center will serve an increasing number of adults who have neurological disorders that range from autism to brain injuries.

4 Our Expertise Over 100 years combined experience in Vocational Services & Work Oriented Neuro Rehabilitation Programs Integrated Therapist within our Vocational Rehabilitation programs Successful community based training program

5 What s a Social Enterprise? While there is no single definition of social enterprise there is agreement regarding the following principles Is socially minded & revenue generating Sometimes called the double bottom line providing financial and social returns Planned and operated as a business

6 What s a Social Enterprise? Has a business plan Designed to be self sufficient with a long term vision Aims to be both profitable (a financial return), a social impact and governed by a non-profit Board of Directors Business run by managers with specific business expertise

7 Introducing Destination Desserts The Destination Desserts Food Truck and Crew Highlighted on St. Louis KSDK news

8 Where did the idea come from? When the economy began to decline so did the chance to get someone with a disability a job Proactive approach that allows our clients to build and showcase their skills An opportunity for training and competitive employment Focuses on outcomes, taking responsibility and ownership to design a enriched work environment and creating jobs

9 Why Desserts? Mass production creates assembly style steps to complete a task We could create an environment where individual steps can be taught and learned by incorporating compensatory strategies

10 First Steps Original concept was a simple cookie bakery and delivery service By working with a business consultant, we learned to not limit our focus and address more market opportunities Recruited expert staff designed a kitchen and recipes that are conducive to assembly style production. Developed a business plan sought out funding partners

11 How it all came together The Destination Desserts project began in July of 2012 The Kessler Foundation Signature Grant (1 year) (2 year) St. Louis County Productive Living Board St. Louis Office for Developmental Disability Resources helped fund the cost of a business consultant, a kitchen build out and equipment, truck renovations, product ingredients, and business personnel prior to the truck generating revenue.

12 The beginning of the business Building the kitchen was the first step for the business startup. Corporate Holiday gift giving created over $30,000 in sales which equals 1,500 dozen cookies and cupcakes Following successful holiday sales at the end of 2012, the process to create our truck began in January 2013

13 The beginning of the business The truck was purchased, designed and retrofitted as a food truck and the custom design wrap was completed on April 19 and this began the process of obtaining inspections and licensing for business in various local communities. While waiting for the completed truck to be delivered our crew and Destination Desserts trainees took the time to train on: customer service skills, making change and equipment operations. Once the truck was delivered practice outings were held at the location of various local funding sources.

14 Our vision

15 Ready to Roll The truck officially hit the streets for business on May 14, 2013

16 Why a Food Truck? It is a rolling billboard for the great work we do at our Center. It allows us to take our product to the customer instead of waiting for business to arrive at our door or orders by phone. It reaches many new customers and donors through the social media activities. Besides our commercial kitchen, the truck is an additional source for training and employment of the people we serve. Adds non-traditional job opportunities (food truck worker, baker s assistant or social media technician) Eliminated the need for delivery drivers from the concept

17 What we sell

18 Our Social Media Plan With the help of a social media consultant, we completed a comprehensive market analysis of our competitors goods, pricing and social media status Tooled with this knowledge, we refined our summer menu and developed a social media marketing plan that included measurable outcomes that will increase our following and sales

19 How it works There are primarily three types of targeted truck business markets that we pursue. Daily corporate and business campuses Meet the needs of corporations looking for lunch alternatives instead of employees leaving the campus. Local events through the food truck association and Sporting events St. Louis Cardinal Baseball, Festivals, Concerts and Community Events, etc. Fundraising events - Walk/runs, MS Society Mukfest, Parades, mall openings, parks, Food Truck Fridays, etc. Private rentals for parties, celebrations and corporate appreciation Internet sales beyond St. Louis

20 Business through Social Media We communicate to our followers through Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp To promote truck menu items, advertising the truck route, communicating our commitment to supporting people living with neurological disabilities in our community, build and foster relationships and communicate the mission of the Center. To keep up with business we hired a part-time employee with a disability to help manage our social media, continuing to live our mission and helping her to gain valuable skills and work experience.

21 Program Design What s the benefit for the clients we serve? Destination Desserts engages the Center s rehabilitation services in two ways: 1. Vocational skills training 2. Employment phase Employment within Destination Desserts or Placement Assistance at a similar local business at jobs in food prep or customer service.

22 Types of Employment Positions Baker s Assistant (Mixer, scooper, packaging, decorating, order fulfillment, inventory, order taking) Food Truck Worker (customer services, cashiering, order fulfillment, inventory, order taking) Social Media Technician

23 Program in Action

24 Training Objectives Through our training program, Trainees are able to participate for up to 12 weeks or 240 hours 1) During training, individuals are introduced to food handling and safety practices, production of basic recipes, and finishing of products to be sold via the food truck and corporate sales.

25 Training Objectives 2) Participants are provided the opportunity to work hands-on in each of the work stations including; measuring, mixing, baking, glazing, decorating, packaging, cleanup and sanitation.

26 Training Objectives 3) In addition, individuals who express a desire or who show potential for good customer service skills are given the opportunity to further build those skills by working directly with the public as trainees on the food truck itself. The truck also offered some of our trainees success that they could not achieve in the kitchen.

27 Training Objectives 4) Also as part of the training participants are introduced to work related soft skills and are expected to adhere to work related practices such as getting to work on time, following a dress code, developing work related problem solving and decision making skills and building good working relationships.

28 Training Objectives 5) Upon employment, individuals will participate in new-hire orientation, to complete necessary documentation and payroll forms. A transition plan is implemented and for consistence purposes the Skills Instructor who worked with the individual during the vocational training program will also provide the continued support and build natural supports.

29 Training Objectives 6) We have been successful in collaborating with our partnering agencies who also provide Vocational Rehabilitation Services. To date, we have partnered with four different St. Louis agencies to provide employment and/or training opportunities for clients looking to enter into the baking or food truck industry.

30 Unexpected Challenges Learning and understanding how to successfully operate a food truck business in the metro St. Louis area (new business) Holiday Product Today s Product

31 Additional Barriers Overcoming the natural communication barriers from business to rehab language and practices (and vice versa) Business and Rehab awareness regarding the use of volunteer and donated services How to transport delicate desserts during humid Missouri summers

32 Successes Our team consists of Director Business Manager Chef Chef Assistants (2) Bakery Assistants (6) Truck Captain (1.5) Food Truck Worker (5) Social Media Technician

33 Impact to those we serve For a variety of reasons some of the individuals who have been hired at Destination Desserts have found it difficult to maintain employment in the past. Working at Destination Desserts provides the opportunity for employees to continue to build or rebuild their work skills at an individualized pace. This model allows the person to take on increased responsibility and additional work tasks as skills emerge. With this approach, employees experience the feeling of success. This feeling of achievement is most often demonstrated through increased self-confidence and as a result it is frequently the employee themselves who request to learn new skills and try new tasks.

34 Impact to those we serve While money is important to all of us, when asked, making money is seldom the first response you will hear from these new employees when asked the question, what do you like most about working? Most of the employees at Destination Desserts will tell you they like the work. The majority had never considered baking or customer service on a food truck as a profession and it seems to be this satisfaction from learning new things that provides the sense of fulfillment. In addition there is a sense of excitement and pride at being on the ground floor of building something new as this social venture expands. There seems to be a feeling of I want to be a part of making this work that has become a sustaining force for all employees of Destination Desserts and the Center for Head Injury.

35 Future pursuits Entrepreneurial Activities Pre-Employment Training

36 Success Story it s like going to a party everyday! But that s wasn t always the case

37 Recommended Resource Disability and Work Research Report May 2011 edition A joint publication from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and the Kessler Foundation Social Enterprise Businesses: A Strategy for Creating Good Jobs for People with Disabilities

38 Questions? Donna Gunning, M.Ed., CRC, LPC The Center for Head Injury Services

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