I recently found out about the SCAA Workshops in Grand Rapids, May 13-14th, and while I plan to attend, I'd love to hear from folks who've attended in the past.  How much does it involve?  And can anyone enlighten me as to why the price is so steep for a workshop that only lasts a few hours?  I'm willing to scrape together the funds (let's face it, baristas generally don't make much), but I know a lot of people who would really love access to that knowledge and information and simply can't afford it.  So tell me about your experiences!  And does anyone know what the costs are for BGA members?

Thanks folks!

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Hi Samantha! I'm so glad you are planning to attend and would be happy to address your questions & comments.

Please note the workshop is taking place at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (not GR).

These are the same SCAA courses that are offered at our annual Expo and throughout the year at various regional events. The courses are built through collaboration of volunteer industry Subject Matter Experts and are under constant evaluation and revision in the Wiki-wisdom fashion. We also have a group of volunteer industry professionals as well as myself that vet the course content for instructional design and educational soundness. Finally, all courses are vetted by the SCAA Stats & Standards committee to ensure consistency with SCAA Standards and best practices- also industry Subject Matter Expert volunteers. This collaboration, under the neutral umbrella of SCAA, helps us to develop classes that are credible, relevant, and reflect the industry's most current trends and information.

Two courses, CP103 (Intro to Customer Service) and CP190 (BGA Level 1 Cert Test) are complimentary with BGA membership.

I hope that you get some good response from others who attended, because I am obviously biased as an employee of SCAA. With that disclosure in mind, I will mention that according to our course evaluations we consistently get feedback from our attendees that our courses provided value to their business at the price point. I would not consider them expensive- not sure what you are comparing the price point to, which of course matters- but for the most part, private barista training courses are usually $200-250 for a half-day course. You also may notice that the pricing for these courses is consistent with when these courses are offered at our exposition in Anaheim. Intro to Espresso is a full-day (6-hour) course, and all others are 3 hours.

You can feel free anytime to email me at elliem at scaa.org and just let me know what courses you are interested in and I would be happy to provide a course outline or other info, as well as info on the BGA cert, or anything! For anyone interested, the event info & reg is available here http://bit.ly/SBW_Michigan .

Thanks again for your interest and hope to see you there!
All the best,
Whoa, thanks for all the info, Ellie! I definitely assumed incorrectly about the location, haha.

I was comparing the price-point generally to what I've seen at barista jams (not sure how these workshops stack up to the ones offered at bjams), and just other day-long workshops offered in other educational fields... but mostly I was simply thinking of what I and most baristas I know make hourly, and that one course is about a quarter of my paycheck in cost. It's definitely tangential, but I just wish more coffee industry events were more accessible to those of us who, unfortunately, don't make much more than minimum wage. I'm sure it's worth the price, but that doesn't make it any more affordable! I often look to a lot of the more experienced, "high-end" baristas and wonder how they manage to do all the activities they do - workshops, travel to events, competitions... I very much want to extend my knowledge, but passion doesn't pay the bills. I very deeply wish I could afford to attend the expo in Anaheim, these workshops, other industry events... I'm sure there are a lot of other baristas in my boat, who have plenty of drive but very few resources. Maybe I'm missing out on a lot because I haven't become a BGA member yet, I'm not sure. I just wish, especially for my employer in particular, that I could find a way to bridge the knowledge-finance gap.

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