David Remick, Executive Director, Alexandria/Arlington Workforce Investment Board
Imagine a program that helps local businesses fill their open positions by transforming the lives of those who are struggling to survive. That is exactly what the Alexandria/Arlington Culinary Training Program is doing by putting homeless or immediately at risk of becoming homeless individuals back into the workforce.
The program will prepare and place 20 individuals in need of work in promising jobs, help them achieve economic independence, and aid a local industry in need of workers. The Fall Class had nine people enrolled with six graduating. A total of five of the six were hired by a local restaurant prior to their graduation on February 7, 2014. The winter class begins in late February and will enroll 11 individuals.
“It was an honor and a joy to witness the graduation of the Fall Class. As someone who came from difficult, austere circumstances, I understand how difficult it can be to overcome adversity. The dedication and determination evidenced by the graduates, the program staff, and all the supporters, are a testament to human spirit. The fact that almost all of them already have jobs is a testament to the effectiveness of the program and the eagerness of employers to hire individuals that have completed training that meets their needs.”
-Danny Vargas, Chair, Virginia Workforce Council
The Culinary Training Program is a collaboration between the Alexandria/Arlington Workforce Investment Board, Alexandria City Department of Community and Human Services, Arlington County Department of Human Services, both jurisdiction’s One-Stop Employment Centers, and local business partners Hyatt Regency and Marriott. The program consists of four primary components: outreach and recruitment, screening, training, and job placement.
Various social services, like housing support and transportation assistance, will be provided by the Departments of Human Services throughout the program. Hyatt and Marriott assist in providing candidates with an overview of the culinary career path in local hotels, as well as provide locations for culinary internships and assistance in soliciting other hotels and restaurants into this program.
Training is delivered by DC Central Kitchen, in a professional kitchen-lab setting. Successful participants earn a SafeServe Certification and receive a set of Chef’s Knives. Participants are Workforce Investment Act (WIA) -eligible individuals in the City of Alexandria and Arlington County.
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