In February of 2016 Fred Mische of Fred’s Bread in Eden Prairie had to make a difficult decision and close his doors. This decision came when he had to let his apprentice baker, Joe Keely, know that he would have to let him go because the small family owned bakery could not compete with the large chain bakeries throughout the Cities. As Joe’s mentor, Fred didn’t just let Joe walk out of the bakery without thinking about his future though, Fred contacted Joe’s Employment Consultant, Erik Larson, at Community Involvement Programs to put a placement plan together so Joe could continue his work as a Career Baker. Together Joe, Fred and Erik created a resume, LinkedIn page and letter of recommendation for Joe so that he could continue to grow as a baker in the Metro Area.
A year before starting work at Fred’s Bread, Joe Keely was working inconsistent hours and late nights as a delivery driver for Jimmy John’s Sandwich Company. There Joe learned the basic skills of stretching, resting and baking bread that would one day turn into a career for the young man. After contacting his Employment Consultant to look for different work, Joe and Sarah Tiemann, former Employment Consultant at CIP, stopped into Fred’s Bread out of the blue and Joe was hired on the spot.
Joe started working as a mixer and pre-shaper of the great breads that would come out of Fred’s Bread after a long nights work. Fred saw the potential that Joe possessed and suggested that he get his culinary degree to add to his resume. Joe began taking classes while working overnight shifts at Fred’s Bread and successfully completed his degree. Soon after, Joe started to take on a major role at the bakery preparing different doughs and mixtures according to secret company recipes, pre-shaping and final shaping dough for the oven, and bagging and labeling the delicious final product. Joe would even help to make deliveries at the end of his shift in the early hours of the morning to restaurants around the Metro.
Flash-forward to February 2016. After the unfortunate closing of Fred’s Bread and meeting with his Employment Consultant for job seeking, sending out multiple emails and contacting multiple bakeries, Joe and Erik had a lead with at Rustica Bakery on West Lake Street near Lake Calhoun. One week after the closing of Fred’s Bread, Joe was offered an interview and an audition to show off his skills. A day after his working interview where Joe displayed his shaping and forming skills to the hiring manager, Joe was offered the job.
Since then, Joe has been happily employed as an overnight baker at Rustica on West Lake Street working full time. Joe is a great asset to the Bakery, according to his manager, “Joe always shows up on time with a smile and has a great attitude, which is half of the battle when you are working overnights!” Joe has even earned the nickname “Smiley Joe Keely” because of his great smile and positive demeanor. Over the last year Joe has continued to show promise as a baker and is continually adding skills to his resume. Thanks to Joe’s great attitude, superb baking skills and working with his Employment Consultant at Community Involvement Programs, Joe was able to knead through a sticky situation and find meaningful employment and pursue his dream to be a Baker.
Author and Photo credits: Erik Larson, Employment Consultant