New Cleveland Bakery Offers ‘Learn-and-Earn’ Work Experience for Students Facing Barriers to Employment

fresh breadClevelanders with a sweet tooth will want to keep an eye out for Bloom Bakery, a new artisan shop that is providing the community with much more than just delicious breads and pastries.

According to CleveScene, Bloom Artisan Bakery and Café is set to debut two shops in Cleveland that will provide locals with quality baked goods, in addition to offering valuable on-the-job training to students with barriers to employment.

The new bakery is a social venture funded by Towards Employment, a local non-profit organization that creates jobs for Cleveland residents who struggle to find steady work due to a tainted background.

The two new shops will be located at 200 Public Square and 1938 Euclid Ave. on the Cleveland State University campus. Artisan baker Maurice Chaplais, says that the quality of Bloom Bakery’s baked goods will be more than enough to set them apart from the rest.

“Bloom Bakery will distinguish itself by taking the time to perfect the art of baking,” says Chaplais. “The effort to incorporate locally sourced ingredients and create delicious handcrafted treats demonstrates Bloom Bakery’s dedication to great taste and customer satisfaction.”

There are more than 2,800 commercial bakeries in the U.S., but a lack of quality baked goods in Cleveland should help Bloom to corner the local market. There’s also a dearth of career opportunities for many students in the area, and Towards Employment Executive Director Jill Rizika thinks that Bloom’s promise to pay employees as they learn will go a long way in preparing them for future success.

“We have found ‘learn-and-earn’ opportunities are needed as an effective workplace introduction for many Towards Employment students, especially those with the most challenging barriers to employment like a criminal background,” said Rizika.

“With our board’s endorsement, we agreed to identify a social enterprise that could provide rigorous on-the-job training, work experience and income for these students. Bloom Bakery is the best opportunity to meet these goals,” she added.

According to, the city is making a concerted effort to implement apprenticeship programs that help those who struggle to find employment.

Cleveland hosted the inaugural National Apprenticeship Week earlier this month, and U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez endorsed programs similar to Bloom Bakery during a speech at the event.

“When I talk to parents, and they say, ‘Apprenticeship? That sounds like yesterday’s concept,’” said Perez. “What I tell them is that an apprenticeship is the other college — except without the debt. “The ‘earn while you learn’ model works.”

For students who yearn for a meaningful career path, Bloom Bakery’s learn-to-earn program is the perfect solution. For Clevelanders who just love a good croissant, Bloom can help with that, too.

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