August 12, 2019
ConnCAT and the New Haven Free Public Library Announce Partnership to Bring Culinary Excellence to the Green

New Haven, CT (August 12, 2019) —  The Connecticut Council for Arts and Technology (ConnCAT), along with the New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) today announced their newly minted partnership which enhances food options and brings culinary opportunities to New Haven’s nine squares.

Through this partnership, ConnCAT’s Orchid Cafe will open its doors in Ives Squared on the New Haven Green. This second location is set to bring the fruit of ConnCAT’s Culinary Arts Academy to the downtown area. Orchid on the Green opens August 12 and a grand opening celebration is slated for September.

“Our mission at ConnCAT has always been to assist community members in their efforts to grow, develop and improve their circumstances,” ConnCAT President and CEO, Erik Clemons said. “Supporting the community with job opportunities, entrepreneurial guidance and authentically welcoming spaces remains at the core of the work we do and we’re excited to integrate that work into the long-standing mission of the New Haven Free Public Library. This partnership will allow us to deepen our commitment to New Haven while ensuring that community members have consistent access to Orchid’s nutritionally rich menu and socially responsible mission.”

“We are excited to welcome ConnCAT and its culinary arts café, Orchid on the Green, to Ives Squared, the library’s renovated space for 21st-century learning, entrepreneurship and civic engagement,” City Librarian Martha Brogan said. “The café is the social engine of Ives Squared, promoting the exchange of ideas in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere with an inventive food and beverage menu. With ConnCAT as our partner, we look forward to deepening our programmatic and service collaboration in support of our shared community values.”

Orchid Café’s premier location was established in 2017 as a full–service breakfast and lunch restaurant that provides training opportunities for participants in the ConnCAT Culinary Arts Academy. The culinary arts program trains adults in the areas of food and beverage operations, entrepreneurial skills, baking and pastry arts, and advanced culinary skills. Graduates also receive the national Food Service Protection Manager certification. The program is targeted to low-income individuals from New Haven, with approximately 25% formerly incarcerated individuals.

With missions that are mutually beneficial and aligned, NHFPL, ConnCAT, and its subsidiary the Connecticut Community Outreach Revitalization Program (ConnCORP) are poised to bring a combination of urban culture, arts, and local community conversations to New Haven’s nine squares. All proceeds from Orchid on the Green will go towards supporting NHFPL and ConnCAT’s ongoing missions.

“The inspiring story of Orchid Café at ConnCAT coming into existence in 2017 is nothing short of beautiful and we have been looking forward to growing,” said Raven Blake, Manager of Orchid Café & Food Operations. “This collaboration comes so naturally because the missions of the NHFPL and ConnCAT are aligned. We are all committed to serving New Haven residents and the community at large, and we do that by providing access and opportunities to foster essential connections. When institutions come together and put people and community first, the most extraordinary things happen and we can’t wait to witness those developments.”

“We are so delighted to bring our second location to Downtown and collaborate with the award-winning New Haven Free Public Library,” said Gideon Gebreyesus, Vice President of Food Operations and Concept Developments for ConnCORP. “It is truly a win-win situation. We are excited to embark on what ConnCAT has created for all these years and keep the continuity of the mission going through our food initiatives”

Orchid on the Green is an innovative opportunity for the two mission-driven organizations to grow, collaborate, and continue developing the pipeline of local talent in New Haven.

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About ConnCAT
The Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology (ConnCAT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit post-secondary career training institution. The center was established in 2011 as a means to make training opportunities available to all people regardless of race, religion, ancestry or national origin. ConnCAT provides job-training programs intended to give unemployed and under-employed adults the skills needed to secure meaningful, well-paying jobs in the health sciences and culinary professions. ConnCAT provides adults with the academic support needed to succeed in the programs. Career preparation is linked with the hospitality industry and corporate partners who assist in the design of the training. Learn more at
About The New Haven Free Public Library
The New Haven Free Public Library welcomes more than 850,000 visitors annually through our front doors and digital portals, realizing its mission of fostering lifelong learning, inspiring curiosity, and building community through shared access to resources, experiences, and opportunities for all. The library system includes the Ives Memorial Library on the historic New Haven Green, 24/7 online services, the Readmobile bringing books to early childhood learning centers, and four neighborhood libraries: Fair Haven, Mitchell, Stetson and Wilson. Now and tomorrow, the New Haven Free Public Library will transform lives and contribute to creating a strong, resilient, and informed community where everyone can thrive.

The New Haven Free Public Library is a 2019 winner of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for distinctive service to their communities. For more information, visit

Mercy A. Quaye
About The Narrative Project
Through socially responsible communications consulting, The Narrative Project works to help emerging and established mission-driven organizations reach their diverse publics, build their image, further their mission, and achieve their goals. We offer comprehensive communications consulting at affordable and attainable rates. We strive to ensure that a lack of funding and resources never impede success for any mission-driven organization.

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