Fostering Wellness’ Culinary Readiness Program Graduates First-Ever Class

For young people aging out of foster care, Fostering Wellness and Inter-Faith Food Shuttle provide skills for jobs and life.

RALEIGH, NC (December 16, 2016) - The first-ever class of Fostering Wellness' Culinary Readiness Program is set to graduate Friday, with the skills needed to get jobs in the restaurant industry. Among youth with a history in foster care, 50 percent are unemployed at age 24 and 36 percent have spent some time in homelessness. But through Fostering Wellness’ Culinary Readiness Program, 6 people aging out of the foster care system now have the necessary skills to begin a career in the hospitality industry.

"We couldn't be prouder of our Culinary Readiness Program Graduates," said Fostering Wellness Executive Director Stacy Bluth. "And all of their hard work will soon pay off. Restaurants provide a pathway to the middle class without the need for an expensive four-year degree, and now our graduates have the training and skills needed to put themselves on that pathway to get great jobs in local restaurants."

The Culinary Readiness Program is the result of a partnership between Fostering Wellness, a nonprofit focused on helping young people aging out of the foster care system, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Culinary Job Training Program for adults, and local restaurants eager to train a motivated and passionate workforce. Funded in large part by a $1 million grant from GSK, the Culinary Readiness Program provides job-skills training to a group of people who are largely left behind.

The Inter-faith Food Shuttle (IFFS) adult culinary program began in 1998 as an opportunity for people in soup lines and shelters to break the cycle of poverty by obtaining an employable skill in the culinary arts.

“Many of the youths were pleasantly surprised that they enjoyed cooking, said IFFS head chef, Terri Hutter. “Whether it becomes a job choice or not, they are now more able to prepare meals for themselves and their families, and they have pride in being able to do that.”

Friday's graduation will be a festive, energetic event with a banquet-style lunch prepared by the adult and youth graduates and a combined ceremony recognizing each member of the two classes. Graduates, trainers and Fostering Wellness personnel will be on hand to talk with members of the media.

The graduation will be held at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's headquarters and teaching kitchen at 1001 Blair Dr. in Raleigh. Food preparation will begin by 10:00 a.m. and the banquet and ceremony will begin at 12:00 p.m.