Starbucks Barista Training Program
At Niagara Falls High School
Program Instructor: Ms. Chonte Hunt
In 2019 F BITES opened the first ever In-High School “We Proudly Serve” Starbucks Barista Training Program. High School Students take a 6-week training course where they learn important life-skills while earning work-based learning hours to complete their requirements for graduation. Students are trained on actual Starbucks equipment, they learn how to make the drinks, how to run a register system, customer service; Important skills such as leadership, teamwork, self-confidence, responsibility, accountability, reliability, respect of one another, and college and career readiness.
Many of our Barista Program Graduates go on to work at the various F BITES eateries in the area. They can apply the skills learned in the Barista Program to a real life workplace environment. Young learners will not only have a graduation certificate from the barista program, but they will also earn work-based learning hours that will count towards their C-DOS (Career Development & Occupational Studies) graduation requirements. This will further help ensure employment for the students.
From Cheryl W. Vilardo, Vice Principle of Niagara Falls High School
This program has had a tremendously positive impact on the students who have worked in the first cohort. We purposely picked students who are not naturally engaged in school in the traditional way and who have struggled with attendance, coursework, and/or discipline in the past. For these students, absenteeism is down (for example, one student has increased his attendance at school by 55% compared to the first quarter of last year), academic success is up (nearly all students are passing all core academic classes), and none of the students involved have had a major discipline issue so far this year.
More importantly, we see these students feeling connected to school and proud of their work. They have learned to speak to adults when taking coffee orders, have learned to work together even with people who are not their friends, and walk around the building happy.
Perhaps the most telling point of success is that all 8 students showed up to work at this fall’s musical, which required them to get transportation back to the building in the evening and volunteer two hours of their time for three consecutive nights.
Regardless of where life takes them, these transferable skills will be with them throughout the rest of their lives.