Combating Hunger, Creating Opportunity

DC Central Kitchen is America's leader in reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise.
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Updates for 12 Days of Jobs

DCCK achieves 100% employment rate for adults without GEDs

, February 12th, 2015


A critical new policy brief from the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region (CFNCR), entitled “Charting the Course,” brings new attention to the employment crisis facing individuals in our community without a high school diploma or its equivalent. “More than 60,000 DC residents are essentially locked out of the City’s economy” due to this lack of credentialing, the brief claims, before rightfully calling for strategic investments in a “strong workforce development plan to bring these residents into the District’s economy as full and successful participants.”

At DC Central Kitchen, we couldn’t agree more. In 2014, our Culinary Job Training program began recruiting and accepting more individuals without high school equivalency to better serve this marginalized population. Upon graduation, 83% of these students found a job with a starting wage of $9.84 an hour—not bad, but not as good as DCCK’s typical results. The same percentage of individuals with diplomas found a job upon graduation, but they earned nearly a dollar more an hour, with an average starting wage of $10.62.

But we didn’t stop working with our graduates at graduation. Our students without high school equivalency ultimately achieved a 100% job placement rate, but they and our workforce development staff had to work harder and longer to find employers that would accept them. Critically, over time, the wage gap between those with diplomas and those without them closed. Within a year of graduation, individuals without high school equivalency were earning an average of $10.82 per hour, while those with it were earning $11.08.

Our sample size isn’t huge, and no one program could possibly serve the 60,000 women and men excluded from DC’s economic opportunities. Our results show, however, that there is hope. We join the authors of this valuable policy brief in calling for a smart, strategic, and adequately resourced solution to this crisis. We’re happy to share what we’re learning, and eager to join our nonprofit, public, and private partners in the effort to put our neighbors back to work.

Ronnie Scott brings home 12 Days of Jobs

, December 20th, 2011

Ronnie Scott, Culinary Job Training Class 86 Spokesman, brings home 12 Days of Jobs at the Graduation Brunch.

Terrance has a job

, December 19th, 2011

Terrance, Culinary Job Training graduate, talks about finishing the program with a job!

Maria is glad to be working

, December 16th, 2011

Maria, Culinary Job Training graduate, is glad to be employed. She shares her experiences with the program in this latest 12 Days of Jobs video.

Eddie Harris is employed

, December 15th, 2011

Eddie Harris, Culinary Job Training Class 86 graduate, talks about being employed after going through the 16 week program.

Bianca Cox wants to own her own catering company

, December 14th, 2011

Bianca Cox, Culinary Job Training graduate, talks about her dream to own a catering company in this latest 12 Days of Jobs video.