Barista Institute: Summer camp brews up job skills for teens

Barista Institute: Summer camp brews up job skills for teens

EUGENE, Ore. - Making that morning mocha is more than just coffee, milk and chocolate - it's somebody's job.

Teens are learning how to work in coffee shops at the summer Barista Institute.

"I'm always nervous that I won't have enough on my resume because it's hard breaking into the job world," said Rosie Adams, a participant in the institute.

American teens can face an uphill battle finding a job. Teen unemployment runs higher than the unemployment rate for the general population. Recent statistics for Oregon show more than 15 percent of females and almost 20 percent of males ages 16-to-24 who are actively seeking work are unemployed.

So Adams is joining a handful of other teens who are spending their lazy summers learning to make lattes.

"I wanted to have more skills to you know, be a more desirable employee," she said, "and also I think coffee shops are kind of like soothing."

There's plenty of trial and error for the baristas-in-training - but sometimes, sweet success, too.

And even if the steaming and the pulling and the pouring doesn't appeal to students after the Barista Institute is done, the organizer said it's still worth it.

"What the kids learn during the week are work skills that transfer to almost any work environment," said Sue Harnly, owner of the Eugene Coffee Company.

Skills like multi-tasking, crafting resumes, delivering customer service - and making great coffee.

"I love coffee," said Daniel Odegaard, another teen at the institute. "That was actually one of my motivations for coming to learn how to make coffee, was that I spend so much money on it, I figured I should probably be able to make it at home."

Or at work.

"I've applied at a couple of local venues," Odegaard said. "I haven't gotten any responses so I thought it would be a good opportunity to increase my knowledge of making coffee."

That's the idea, said Harnley.

"When I'm hiring baristas at my shop, when i get resumes, I look for the words barista, espresso, coffee," Harnley said, "and if I don't see that on their resume, I don't keep their resume."
 
There are two more sessions of the summer Barista Institute planned.