Hugs Training Academy Expands to Dallas College


Subject: Hugs Training Academy Expands to Dallas College

Date: November 20, 2023

The fourth program from Hugs Cafe Inc., Hugs Training Academy is an educational training opportunity for adults with disabilities who seek to work in the culinary and hospitality industries. The academy currently offers workforce training to participants in McKinney and will be expanding to the Dallas College Culinary, Pastry and Hospitality Center in January 2024. Classes are held in person, two days a week from 10am to 3pm.

The training academy is open to anyone at least 18 years old, interested in the culinary or hospitality fields, has a desire to be employed, and has an intellectual or developmental disability. The cost to attend the Hugs Training Academy is $3,200 per semester. Tuition fees can be covered in multiple ways, including self-pay, scholarships, business-sponsored, and the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Hugs Café staff worked with several special education teachers to build a 12-week culinary curriculum. The curriculum is focused on providing entry-level skills to students, so they are ready to enter the workforce in the culinary or hospitality fields. Some of these skills include food prep, knife handling, baking, customer service, communication, personal responsibility, and other industry and work-specific skills. Upon completion of the program, individuals receive their food handler certification and are paired with a Hugs Cafe employment partner, such as Jason’s Deli, Marriott Hotels, Sweetwater’s Coffee & Tea, and school district cafeterias.

As Dallas College continues to grow its programming, it became a natural conversation to explore how inclusive training and hiring could make its way to the culinary industry. With the support of the Dallas College leadership and the Greater Dallas Chapter Texas Restaurant Association, Dallas College Senior Director of Workforce Initiatives Steve DeShazo worked with Hugs Training Academy to have a home in Dallas that provides accommodating culinary training and job support. The Dallas College Culinary Pastry and Hospitality Center is located at 11830 Webb Chapel Road, Suite 1200.

For more information about the work the Hugs Cafe Inc is doing in the community or how you can be a part of our mission, please contact lauren@hugscafe.org.

If you would like to apply to attend Hugs Training Academy, please visit us online to complete an application.


About Hugs Café Inc

The mission of Hugs Cafe Inc. is to enhance the lives of adults with special needs through training and employment. Donations and more information about our organization can be found at our website. www.hugscafe.org

About Dallas College

Dallas College, formerly the Dallas County Community College District, was founded in 1965, and consists of seven campuses: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. Dallas College offers online learning and serves more than 122,000 credit and continuing education students annually. Dallas College also offers dual credit for students in partner high schools and early college high schools throughout Dallas County. Students benefit from partnerships with local business leaders, school districts and four-year universities, and Dallas College offers associate degree and career/technical certificate programs in more than 100 areas of study, as well as a bachelor’s degree in education. Based on annual enrollment, it is one of the largest community colleges in the U.S.

Hugs Café Inc. Contact Name Lauren Smith
Executive Director Lauren@hugscafe.org 940-367-7016

Dallas College Contact Name
Liz Scruggs
Associate Deputy Chief, Communications mscruggs@dallascollege.edu 972-860-5448