Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The YWCA of Niagara is cooking up something special for Lockport.
The organization will expand its popular culinary training program to its Cottage Street location to help people in the area earn skills in the culinary field — skills that can lead to employment for those in the impoverished area.
The 16-week program is currently offered at Carolyn’s House, the YWCA’s homeless facility for women and children in Niagara Falls.
Students in the program are taught to work in a commercial kitchen, learning cooking techniques and customer service skills, YWCA of Niagara CEO Kathy Granchelli said as a guest speaker at the Lockport Rotary Club Luncheon Tuesday.
“The goals of this program are to work on poverty reduction in the Lockport area, promote economic self sufficiency and provide employment opportunities for the hard to employ,” Granchelli said.
Some of the past participants of the program are women who were homeless, previously incarcerated, never employed, or victims of domestic violence, Granchelli said.
Graduates of the program also receive ServSafe certification, a food service accreditation.
“When these graduates are finding their first employment, that accreditation looks great on a resume,” Granchelli said.
The program also helps students earn their GEDs, as well as offering computer skills training and English as a second language.
In the eight years that the culinary training program has been offered at Carolyn’s House, 120 women have graduated from the program with about 36 percent of them currently employed in the service industry. Ten percent have gone on to finish their education at NCCC. The YWCA has an articulation agreement with NCCC and graduates of the culinary training program are able to enter the college’s culinary program with seven credits.
Graduates can seek employment with the YWCA’s social enterprise programs, The Catering Crew and the Niagara Falls International Airport Cafe.