A dozen students receiving culinary job training at the Rhode Island Food Bank graduate Friday evening. The program takes highly motivated low-income residents and trains them to work in the restaurant and hospitality industries.
The Food Bank launched the program 17 years ago, it's currently held in a modern industrial kitchen built at their site. As part of the 14-week program, cooking students prepare 600 hot meals a day for children in after-school programs in Providence. The Food Bank said this graduating class has made about 22,000 meals for school kids.
Students also do internships at restaurants and catering services, and those internships often lead to jobs right after graduation. The Food Bank says 92 percent of graduates land a job within a year.
More than a hundred people apply for the program, which trains up to 15 people at a time. The Rhode Island Food Bank said funding is the biggest barrier to expanding the program. The program costs $200,000 a year without any government funding.