Unwrapping butter is serious business and labor intensive when you consider the quantities needed to create delicious KP! Toffee sold in more than 340 specialty grocers, coffee shops, hotels, resorts and gift shops nationwide. Made in Sturtevant, KP! Toffee is named for original owner Karen Peltier.
When Mike Clark purchased the business in 2015, Peltier suggested Careers Industries Fulfillment Services as a possible option for busy season support. However, ultimately it is our Partners in Integrated Employment program that has become the right staffing solution for this confectioner of Premium Gourmet English toffee. Partners in Integrated Employment provides job training and employment opportunities for adults with disabilities including paid work experiences (internships) funded by the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and matches employers with qualified talent.
There are a lot of dirty dishes that result from mass candy production and KP! Toffee had a need for a dishwasher. Trish Wimer, a Careers’ Industries employment specialist, met with KP! Toffee to learn more about the job requirements. She determined that Jimmie, a Partners in Integrated Employment participant, would be a qualified candidate for the position. He started with KP! Toffee last November in a paid internship funded by the DVR.
“Mike and I are firm believers in supporting and giving back to the community,” says Kate Clark, Mike Clark’s sister and kitchen manager for KP! Toffee. “Karen had suggested Careers Industries, Trish came in and led us to Jimmie and everything just lined up. He was fairly quiet at the beginning but as he got to know everyone he really started to open up. We would strongly recommend any business owner give a job candidate from Careers Industries a chance.”
An on-site job coach is a valuable component of all paid internships arranged by Careers Industries. However, it didn’t take long before Jimmie felt comfortable on the job and scaled back Wimer’s on-site support. In fact, he gained so much confidence that his job description quickly expanded.
That brings us back to us back to unwrapping butter. KP! Toffee uses about 32 to 36 pounds of butter daily, and up to as much as 60 pounds a day during the holiday season, so the process is fairly labor-intensive. In addition to washing dishes, Jimmie unwraps all the butter which provides kitchen staff with easier access to this key ingredient and increases the overall efficiency of the operation. Jimmie also regularly suggests new sales ideas.
“The other day his idea was for all the high school kids going to prom to buy toffee to give to their date’s parents for them to eat while waiting for their daughter to come home,” says Kate Clark.
When Jimmie’s paid internship ended, KP! Toffee offered him a full-time permanent position, which he accepted. Since the business is closed Fridays during slower months, Jimmie uses that time to focus on sales.
Careers Industries welcomes the opportunity to place qualified interns and employees at other local businesses or nonprofits. There are a number of business benefits from recruiting interns and employees through Careers Industries and our partnership with DVR including free onsite job coaches and tax credit opportunities. Contact Careers Industries at 262-752-4100 for more information.