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Culinary Job Training

The Need:

  • For those who have been previously incarcerated, homeless, or in the foster care system, unemployment rates range from 27-42%.
  • In California, 50% of parolees end up back in prison within three years of being released.
  • San Diego has the 4th highest population of homeless individuals in the nation.

Our Program:

Project Launch

Project Launch is a tuition-free, certified culinary apprenticeship program that trains individuals with barriers to employment to launch their career in the culinary and hospitality industry. The program specifically serves individuals who have barriers to employment: formerly incarcerated adults, foster youth transitioning out of the system, survivors of domestic violence, individuals with mental health disorders, and individuals with histories of substance abuse.

By providing technical skills, workforce readiness instruction, case management, and industry certification (food handlers certificate and culinary apprenticeship certificate), Kitchens for Good helps these unemployed individuals become employed and self-sufficient. The program includes 12 weeks of culinary and workforce training (300 hours) and 17 months of paid on-the-job training (2,400 hours). Through a proven apprenticeship model, the program trains apprentices for employment, places them into jobs, and then tracks, mentors, and supports apprentices during employment to ensure that wages and skills continue to grow as apprentices progress along a career pathway.

During full-day classes, apprentices begin their mornings by attending interactive lessons with the Career Coach, on job readiness, workforce attitudes, and life skills. Apprentices spend a majority of the school day in the kitchen learning nutrition and culinary skills, and practicing these skills by preparing nutritious meals for food insecure San Diegans. Because Project Launch is a California certified culinary apprenticeship program, apprentices engage in on-the-job training in Kitchens for Good catering department and contract meal enterprise. This provides apprentices with the opportunity to earn while they learn.

The program has a strong track record in helping to break the cycles of poverty with attained outcomes of 86% employment rate of graduates, earning an average starting wage of $13.25 an hour, with 80% of graduates experiencing wage growth during 18 months of employment.

Please see the links below for more information on how to apply or refer a client to the program.
If you are a Chef or Culinary Employer interested in providing guest chef demos, or hiring our apprentices please contact katrina@kitchensforgood.org

This project is funded in part with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the City of San Diego.

Learn More About Our Programs

Culinary Job Training

Training People to Thrive in Careers in the Culinary Industry

Reducing Food Waste

Utilizing Surplus and Cosmetically Imperfect Food

Healthy Meals

Combating Hunger with Nutritious Meals for Families in Need

Social Enterprise

Providing on the job training for apprentices and generating revenue to support programs

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