At the cafeteria in a several story office building in Edina, Barbara Nerud keeps the primary tools of the foodservice flowing. Large cooking trays, pots, pans and other dishes need her cleaning attention.
“It’s cool. I like staying busy,” said Nerud, who found the job with Aramark through Chrestomathy in Eden Prairie. She said her coworkers are fine and helpful.
The nonprofit program provided Nerud with the impetus and support. “She was stoked about it,” said Bridget Pritchard, program director for the Chrestomathy site. The director said Nerud is a fun person who understands other people’s jokes and can be a jokester herself.
Cleaning experience and training at the nonprofit’s facility laid a groundwork for her current job, which involves a lot of hand washing. A job coach is there to help. Nerud’s shifts start toward the end of lunchtime and run halfway through the afternoon.
“We were super proud and happy that she reached her goal,” said Pritchard.
Working one to two days a week, she is also open to clocking more hours at a second Aramark-run cafeteria.
Staff at Chrestomathy came alongside Nerud to increase her endurance through exercise, and hone her coping skills. Chrestomathy serves as a base for transportation, life skills and community involvement on her days off.
Nerud lives in a group home in Minneapolis. She takes walks and listens to music in her free time.