For those that follow coffee competitions in the United States, Glitter Cat is a well-known commodity. Glitter Cat began as a bootcamp for USBC contenders that hold an under-represented identity. Since then, the program has broadened to include bootcamps for all disciplines of the US Coffee Championships.

But competitions are only a small, albeit very visible, part of the coffee industry. The fight for inclusion and diversity doesn’t start and stop at the stage. And with their latest installation, Glitter Cat looks to help make changes at the cafe level. Introducing Glitter Cat HR, a new program that “aims to diversify the pool of human resources professionals in coffee and beyond,” and applications are open now.

There is an HR void in the specialty coffee space. Most cafes are opened on a shoestring budget, with the owners handling all the business-side aspects of running a small company. This means that most don’t have much in the way of human resources, and things like developing equitable company policies and creating an employee handbook are often after thoughts. And without these clearly defined rules and protocols, even the most well-intentioned of owners can run afoul of enforcing them equitably.

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We need a new wave of human resources professionals who can bridge the gap between employees and business owners, provide clarity, and help all business stakeholders achieve their goals beyond making great coffee.

Over the course of 12 weeks, Glitter Cat HR will help individuals study for and receive aPHR (associate profession in human resources) certification in hopes of “diversifying the pool of HR professionals in the specialty coffee industry,” per the press release. A total of 12 applicants will be accepted for the first cohort, where they will attend small and large group meetings, take weekly practice exams, and ultimately take a 150-question proctored exam.

Listen to Glitter Cat co-founder Eric Grimm speak to Umeko Motoyoshi on Sprudge podcast A Better Table about the Glitter Cat HR program in a January 2022 episode.

With aPHR certification, students can “develop Universal Documents for low-cost/free access for coffee businesses” as well as offer HR consulting for small businesses, like coffee shops. And while there is no guarantee of job placement after the program, the hope is that the certification and consulting work will lead to full-time positions as more and more coffee companies expand their needs for HR departments.

Applications for the HR program are open now through Friday, February 17th and can be filled out via the Glitter Cat website. As with all GC education, the program is completely free of charge for attendees and is available to any marginalized member of the coffee community, “including BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIAP+, neurodivergent, disabled, and persons of marginalized gender.”

For more information, visit Glitter Cat’s official website.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.