FareStart's Adult Training Program works to build a strong foundation and support system for every student who passes through our doors. The intensive 16-week program combines hands-on food-service training with classroom instruction, life skills training, individual case management and job placement services.
The Adult Training Program prepares homeless and disadvantaged men and women for jobs in the restaurant and hospitality industry and, through our graduate support services, helps them to keep those jobs and move toward self-sufficiency by assisting them in securing living wage jobs and permanent housing. Support and services for our adult students last for approximately one year, and graduates are welcome to return for continued job retention and housing services indefinitely.
In the first phase of their training, FareStart’s adult students work in the contract meal program, producing more than 675,000 meals each year, approximately 550,000 of which are delivered to for area shelters and low-income day care centers throughout the community.
FareStart's Barista Training & Education Program was launched in 2003 and is a collaborative effort with YouthCare, providing at-risk youth, ages 16-23, with the opportunity to build a better future for themselves by increasing their ability to develop a supportive community, reconnect with family, and pursue educational or employment goals. This eight-week program provides job training and placement assistance, life skills classes, employment counseling, and both classroom and on-the-job training.
Catalyst Kitchens, a program of FareStart, is a nationwide network of food-service social enterprise organizations. Since 2006, Catalyst Kitchens has worked to launch, strengthen and scale food service social enterprises that provide job and life skills training for individuals facing significant barriers to employment. Comprehensive programs like FareStart that tackle joblessness, poverty and hunger at the local level exist, but more are needed in communities across the country, and those that already exist can increase their impact by being part of a collaborative network of peers.
As of April 2014, the Catalyst Kitchens network has 59 member programs that provide job training to individuals with barriers to employment across the U.S., Canada, and United Kingdom. Catalyst Kitchens is enabling FareStart to exponentially leverage our impact on a national level.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
FareStart is proud to report outstanding job placement and retention numbers for graduates of our adult program in 2013. Overall, job placement was 90% within 90 days of graduation, our highest ever, with a 3-month job retention rate of 90% and a 6-month job retention rate of 88%. These numbers are a result of great training, increased student support services, and expanded graduate support services that are helping our graduates transition successfully to employment and gain self-sufficiency. With a population that must overcome some very steep barriers to employment—such as mental illness, addiction, and history of severe trauma as well as lack of housing and re-entry from incarceration—we are especially proud to have stepped up to successfully address their needs, with great access to mental health services and other types of counseling.
FareStart has completed a new, five-year strategic platform to guide our planning and growth. We are striving to increase the impact of our programs to help meet the community’s growing need for support. FareStart is in the process of increasing its capacity for enrollees, its training opportunities and business operations to provide a full range of training and services to a greater numbers of disadvantaged individuals in the next five years. In particular, FareStart will increase and strengthen its efforts to better serve a few specific populations: women; youth; individuals re-entering the community from correctional facilities; and people who are in poverty and at risk of homelessness, but are still housed. We also will increase our focus on the wage progression of our graduates in an effort to move them continually farther from the line of homelessness and poverty.
Donations to FareStart this year will go directly to helping us expand the training capacity of our programs and services to more individuals who want the opportunity to change their lives and to increasing our focus on underserved populations. Your investment in FareStart not only transforms lives, it starts a ripple that creates a wave of positive social impact in our community!