Your NPR news source

Restaurant Workers from Mexico Get Certified

SHARE Restaurant Workers from Mexico Get Certified
Restaurant Workers from Mexico Get Certified

Viridiana GarcÃa serves nachos and hot dogs from a video shop in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. Her certification helps the shop meet food-safety regulations. (Chip Mitchell/WBEZ)

Almost a hundred Chicago-area restaurant workers are the first graduates of a program certifying them to handle food in both Mexico and Illinois. We report from our West Side bureau.

On a visit to Chicago last year, Mexican President Felipe Calderón signed an agreement with the Illinois Restaurant Association. The deal set up training for immigrants in food sanitation.

Ninety-four Mexican nationals completed a 16-hour course. The class qualified them for sanitation certificates that help restaurants comply with Chicago and Illinois regulations.

Now the graduates have received a similar certificate to work in Mexico.

SZEKELY: They’re mostly very poor.

Mexican Education Undersecretary Miguel Székely Pardo traveled from his nation’s capital to present the certificates. He says the program will give the immigrants a leg up on both sides of the border.

SZEKELY: They basically come here looking for any job opportunities.

Mexico’s Chicago consulate is developing dual certifications in other occupations, beginning with nursing. Eventually the country hopes to have similar programs across the United States.

The Latest