Nathan Kow is hoping his love for food will one day land him a steady job.

“I would like to go into the food business,” Kow says. “I just love hospitality. It’s been a great experience just to work in the café and get all of these skills.”

The 25 year old is one of the participants of the catering program with Ray of Hope.

The initiative works with young people who have faced challenges finding employment.

“The goal of the Youth Employment Program is to empower youth to have the skills and abilities to be able to find employment,” CEO Tanya Verburg says. “Catering and cooking are great ways for youth to gain skills and experience.”

The 10-week internal placement with the catering program follows a six week in-class component, where participants learn employable skills with counselors.

“Following that 10 weeks, we have partnerships with local businesses, and they do a 10-week external portion. After that they have so many skills they can offer the employment world,” Verburg explains.

Participants are also able to refine their skills in a customer service setting.

Ray of Hope runs Morning Glory Café. They have several locations around Waterloo Region, including at Heffner Toyota.

“The goal of all of this is that when they graduate, they can make meals themselves,” says café supervisor John Knight. “Or they can continue to do this for a living.”

Learn more about Ray of Hope during In Your Backyard with Stu Gooden on CTV News at 5.