Oshkosh School District Launching First of Its Kind Food Truck

Brewing Futures Mobile CAFE serving up hands-on learning

The Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) is debuting a food truck focused on hands-on learning for students of all abilities - the first of its kind in the nation! Named Brewing Futures Mobile CAFE (Coaching Ability For Employment), the customized and fully accessible food truck will soon make its way to community events and businesses and will be operated by OASD students receiving special education services. This unique mobile classroom will not only provide students with special needs real-life working opportunities, but it will allow them to engage with their community in a meaningful way and showcase their employability skills.

“We are so excited to bring this one-of-a-kind learning experience to our students and community,” said Linda Pierron, Oshkosh Area School District Director of Special Education. “The goal of our program is to teach our students employment and "soft skills" and ultimately demonstrate to the community what great employees they can become! Unfortunately, preconceptions are often the major barrier to employment for people with disabilities. This food truck is one way we can show our community that our students are incredible and can be an incredible asset to any business.”

The idea behind Brewing Futures Mobile CAFE came from the District’s successful high school cafes - the Wildcat Cafe at Oshkosh West and the Spartan Snack Shack at Oshkosh North. These in-school cafes provide on-the-job training for over 50 students per year in various skills such as customer service, communication, order preparation, team building, cashiering, money handling, stocking, phone orders, and delivery to customers. Based on the in-school cafe success, and with the aid of a federal grant, the District purchased the mobile cafe - a customized and fully accessible food truck - with the goal of creating a continuum of service from the cafes to the community. The food truck will take student learning and community engagement to the next level ensuring that all students are equipped for their futures beyond high school. Additionally, in an effort to expand its outreach programs, the District intends to use the food truck to enhance its long-standing partnerships with various organizations including Ascension Mercy Hospital, the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Winnebago County, ADVOCAP, and more. 

“We know that being employed and having a sense of accountability and responsibility is positively life-changing. This exciting project demonstrates our commitment and investment in connecting our students with special needs to their community, securing jobs, and being gainfully employed,” said Pierron. 

The Brewing Futures Mobile CAFE arrived in the Oshkosh Area School District this week and District staff are in the process of installing equipment and completing inspections. Once finished, the truck will be debuted this summer at a variety of community events and local businesses. The menu will be flexible based on the event and will consist primarily of beverages, including coffee drinks prepared with equipment on the truck, and prepackaged and prepared food items, including, but not limited to bagels, muffins, and fruit cups. As part of the learning experience, students will be responsible for creating a business plan and budget for each event with the assistance of peers and transition team teachers. 

A community ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place in the coming weeks, additional details to follow. To learn more visit www.oshkosh.k12.wi.us/district/special-education/brewing-futures-mobile-cafe.