Mission Possible Cafe provides community with Mexican cuisine, job training

PHOENIX — The new Mission Possible Cafe is opening in central Phoenix and is giving its employees the valuable work experience they need.

The Phoenix Rescue Mission is expanding its vocational training program by opening the Mission Possible Cafe on Oct. 2. The cafe will be primarily run by program participants in order to give them real-life work experience that aims to help them find a job outside the program.

The Phoenix Rescue Mission is a nonprofit organization that serves the homeless community in Arizona with many services, including their vocational program that helps men and women get job experience through hands on learning.

Mission Possible Cafe is opening in what used to be the Oaxaca restaurant. The cafe still features Oaxaca’s tables and chairs, which were refurnished for the new cafe set to open Oct. 2. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

The Mission Possible Cafe, set to open Oct. 2, a will feature Mexican cuisine in its breakfast and lunch menus. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

The Phoenix Rescue Mission will be opening Mission Possible Cafe on Oct. 2 where the restaurant Oaxaca used to be located at Van Buren Street and 15th Avenue. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

Phoenix Rescue Mission will open Mission Possible Cafe on Oct. 2. The cafe will be completely run by participants from the vocational program. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

"This vocational training is going to mean a lot and give a lot of people a second chance. I think they will embrace that," said Kyle Jordan, Head Chef of Mission Possible Cafe. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

Head Chef Kyle Jordan checks how the warmers are working in the Mission Possible Cafe kitchen. The cafe is set to open on Oct. 2 and will be run with staff from the Phoenix Rescue Mission's vocational program. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

The soon-to-open Mission Possible Cafe will be an extension of the existing Mission Possible Cookies and catering programs. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

The Mission Possible Cafe will open on Oct. 2 as part of a vocational program at the Phoenix Rescue Mission. Participants will work in the cafe for four months to gain work experience before finding jobs outside the rescue mission. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

Head Chef Kyle Jordan says a lot has to happen before the opening on Oct. 2, but he's excited to get the program up and running. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

"I never worked in the food business before coming here at all. But I got that opportunity and started to learn computer skills and learn how to work with other people," MIchelle Rader said. After completing the vocational training program she was hired to oversee Mission Possible Cookies.

Michelle Rader (right) instructs Dara Efhan on food packaging procedures. Rader used to be a participant, like Efhan, in the vocational training program. Now, Rader works on staff and spends her days teaching other women valuable work experience. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

Misty Harvey (left) and Dara Efhan work together to prepare sauces. They are just two of the women involved in the Phoenix Rescue Mission's vocational training that helps give participants enough working experience to land a job after graduating from the program. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

The Mission Possible Cafe will feature menu items that focus on Mexcian cuisine, especially green chiles. Cookies from the Phoenix Rescue Mission's existing program will also be sold. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

The cafe is an expansion to existing vocational programs like Mission Possible Cookies, which teaches employees how to bake and handle food. For Michelle Rader, of Phoenix, the program was life-changing.

“I never worked in the food business before coming here at all,” Rader said. “But I got that opportunity and started to learn computer skills and how to work with other people. This place saved my life.”

Rader graduated from the vocational program at Phoenix Rescue Mission in December 2016. Now, she is continuing to work at Mission Possible Cookies as the social enterprise coordinator and part of the rescue mission staff.

“Some of these girls have not worked before so all of this (training) is just giving them skills they need,” Rader said. “It’s giving them experience to get out there and be able to get a job and support their families. I love that I did it and now I get to be a part of this (program).”

With a grand opening set, Head Chef Kyle Jordan of Phoenix is working to prepare the kitchen and staff for working in a restaurant. Jordan came to the project after volunteering for five months at the rescue mission and is excited for the work the restaurant will do not only for the community but for the employees.

“This vocational training is going to mean a lot and give a lot of people a second chance. I think they will embrace that,” Jordan said.

Mission Possible Cafe will have a grand opening on Oct. 2 and will be open to the public from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. The cafe is located at 1516 W. Van Buren St.