Exclusive breakfast cafe will open to the public once a week

Exclusive breakfast cafe will open to the public once a week

Polytech High School program helps students develop workforce-ready soft skills


Identification in the attached photo “Upfront Cafe at Polytech HS.jpg” is limited to first names: Lindsay and Justin.

Flemington, N.J. – A new breakfast spot will be open exclusively on Thursdays, serving standard fare plus pop-up specials. On other days, the staff — made up of students — will return to their regular high school schedules.

Polytech High School’s Upfront Cafe is in its third year of operation, but quietly so. Students, staff members, and bus drivers have been picking up coffee and bagels there. Starting Nov. 2, the cafe will open to the public.

Cafe workers are in the school’s Career Exploration program that provides a variety of hands-on experiences to develop career plans. Instructor Nancy Klein said it gives students the chance to practice customer service skills like making change and answering questions, plus social interaction skills like eye-to-eye contact and clear speech.

“It’s a real-life experience. It gives them a way to learn all kinds of soft skills,” Klein said.

With the public opening, Klein expects to see a broader customer base including parents of Career Exploration students, interested members of the community, even people who have dropped off a car for service by Polytech Automotive Technology students.

Bagels, Pop-Tarts, bagged chips and drinks will be sold. Upfront Cafe will also take whatever’s cooking in Polytech’s kitchen and turn it into the day’s special. If students in the Culinary Arts program are learning to make breakfast sandwiches, they’ll be on the pop-up menu. Ditto if Baking and Pastry students are cooking muffins.

Career Exploration students learn self-management and interpersonal skills as critical preparation not only for a job but for lifelong learning and citizenship. Cafe work is only a fraction of the program, hence the exclusive public opening.

“Career Exploration gives students opportunities to learn about various occupations by sampling some of the programs that Polytech offers,” said Jennifer Calvelli, Polytech’s Director of Counseling Services. “This experience is valuable for developing a transition plan and helping them prepare for college and/or employment.”

Upfront Cafe is located on Polytech’s Central Campus, 10 Junction Road in Flemington. It will be open to the public from 7 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays only. There is seating for as many as 12 diners.

Hunterdon County Polytech High School is the largest component of Hunterdon County Vocational School District (HCVSD). Polytech (www.hcpolytech.org) is the district’s shared-time high school that prepares students for a seamless transition to college and career paths. HVCSD also operates an Adult and Continuing Education division and three science-based academies. Learn more at www.hcvsd.org.