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Meet the Graduates
We interviewed five graduates of the Culinary Job Training Program to hear about their experience and the impact it had on their lives. Visit the Video library.
Application and Curriculum
DC Central Kitchen’s Job Training program serves as the model for many job training programs around the country. The curriculum and trainee materials below are available for your use and reference.
What is the CJT program?
Solving the immediate problem of hunger is only fighting half of the battle. That’s why, in addition to the food recovery and distribution program, DCCK addresses the root causes of hunger with its Culinary Job Training program. The goal of the program is to prepare unemployed, underemployed, previously incarcerated persons, and homeless adults for careers in the foodservice industry.
25 students are enrolled in each class cycle. Participants attend classes Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students receive a weekly transportation stipend.
Self-Empowerment sessions provide a holistic approach to further students’ personal growth. The goal of these classes is to encourage open dialogue about personal challenges and develop strategies for dealing with them.
The 14-week Culinary Curriculum covers all facets of work in a professional kitchen. The program includes “hands-on” training instructed by an ACF Culinary Coordinator. Local chefs also volunteer once a week to teach specific skills that include:
- Knife Skills
- Fruit, Vegetables & Fresh Herbs
- Stocks & Sauces
- Meat & Seafood Cookery
- Cooking Techniques & Methods
- Grains & Pastas
- Garde Manger
- Special Events / Weekly Field Trips, Heritage Day & Cook-Off Competition
In addition, all graduates complete the ServSafe Food Protection Manager’s Certification Course, the nationally recognized course from the National Restaurant Association’s Educational Foundation.
The Workforce Development Coordinator teaches the importance of job-readiness skills such as punctuality, resume writing, computer literacy, interviewing techniques, positive work attitude, and teamwork.
Upon completion of the program, graduates continue to work with DCCK’s training and employment staff. Graduates are assisted in an intense job search to obtain full-time employment at local restaurants, hotels, caterers and other hospitality businesses.
In 2011, the Culinary Job Training program achieved several milestones:
- 80 graduates from the Culinary Job Training Program
- 87% job placement rate upon graduation
- 85% job retention rate after six months of employment
- Over $11.20 per hour average starting wage
- 63 of our graduates were ex-offenders
- $225,000.00 in payroll taxes were contributed back into the community by our 80 graduates
Opportunities for Employers
Students participate in a one week internship at a local hotel, restaurant, catering or foodservice operation. Students are exposed to various facets of kitchen operations under the supervision of mentoring chefs. This is an opportunity for chefs to work with and train students for up-coming positions at the internship site.
Graduates of the training program are motivated, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and ready to be a part of the team at your foodservice or hospitality business. Prior to the training program, candidates must meet the Kitchen’s standards for attitude and literacy. In addition, candidates must also be drug free.
Graduates of the training program are employed by such businesses as: Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Centerplate at Washington Convention Center; Marriott at Wardman Park, Fairmont Hotel, Holiday Inn Capitol; Aramark Food Service; Armed Forces Retirement Home; DC Public Schools; Fiesta In A Box Catering; Geppetto Catering; The Smithsonian Institution; Fresh Start Catering; among others.
DC Central Kitchen is committed to ensuring that training program graduates succeed in the workforce. Training staff conduct a comprehensive evaluation that helps graduates with their transition into the workforce. Once a graduate is on the job, staff will continue to be available for follow-up.
DCCK’s training program offers a constructive solution to the problem of unemployment in our community. This is a solution that works for everyone: employers get qualified employees, and men and women in need of a good job get work in their field of interest.
At DCCK, we use food as a tool to build community partnerships that support people who are making the transition to self-sufficiency. Employment partners are always welcome.
For media inquiries, contact Paul Day, Communications Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org.