Food bank launches culinary job skills training program

Cincinnati food bank provides culinary arts training
[image credit: Cincinnati Cooks]

Food prep workers are expensive, even for a nonprofit

There’s no such thing as a free lunch – even the meals handed out at soup kitchens or after-school programs cost something to prepare. When the Free Store Food Pantry in Cincinnati estimated the labor costs of preparing food for their after-hours feeding program for children, they realized there must be a better way.

Solution: provide job skills training in exchange for volunteer labor

The Free Store decided to launch a job skills training program that would prepare low-income youth for valuable careers in culinary arts – and in the process, source free volunteer labor for their after-school program. The Cincinnati Cooks program is a ten-week course that teaches professional life skills in addition to the mechanics of a commercial kitchen. Participants prepare up to 4,500 meals at various sites around the city, and after graduation are fast-tracked into culinary arts jobs. Approximately 90% of the program’s 1,100 students are employed within a year following graduation.

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Article by: Dave

Dave Cannon is a Seattle-based entrepreneur and consultant to nonprofits and small businesses. He loves Thai food and takes terrible photographs. You can follow him on Linkedin.
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