Chapter 2: Goals & Data
Goal 18: Vermont’s food system establishments will provide safe & welcoming working conditions, livable wages, & have access to a skilled, reliable workforce.
To increase the number of livable wage jobs in the food system and to increase workplace safety.
Community Kitchen Academy Impacts
What did your organization or program do?
The Community Kitchen Academy (CKA)--a joint program of the Vermont Foodbank, Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, and Capstone Community Action--prepares underemployed and unemployed Vermonters for careers in the food service industry. Students actively develop and apply new skills by creating wholesome meals for those at risk of hunger.
Upon graduation, students are well positioned to obtain a job in the food service industry and are ServSafe certified, a recognized food service industry standard. They develop valuable life and professional skills through the program including goal establishment, résumé writing, interviewing skills, conflict management and budgeting.
CKA performs another important function: rescuing produce, meat and other foods that would otherwise be wasted from grocery stores, restaurants, farms and food service companies. Students work with instructors to transform this food and create meals that are then vacuum sealed, frozen and distributed through food shelves and meal sites.
How well did your organization or program do it?
Program administrators recently surveyed past graduates to see how the program had impacted their life. Since 2009, CKA has graduated 176 students and 88% of graduates have been successful in finding employment in the culinary industry, while 11% went on to higher education. Over 325,000 meals have been served by CKA students.
One CKA graduate said:
“CKA has made a very big impact on my life in many ways—physically, mentally and emotionally. Before I started CKA, I thought it was going to teach me how to be a better cook. While I did gain those skills, I also gained much, much more. The program has also allowed me to pursue going back to school and furthering my education, something that I have wanted to do for so long but was never able to do. The relationships I have made are also positive ones for me and I feel like I have an extended family, as we look out for one another. I am truly happy and feeling accomplished for once in my life.”
Is Vermont better off as a result
CKA graduates reported an increase in confidence, mental health, and life skills (e.g., working as a team player); decreased barriers to employment; and improved nutrition and dietary habits.
There have not been any updates to this performance measurement.