YW Culinary Program

YW Culinary is a free 12-week, paid job training program, presented in partnership with Howard Area Community Center, designed to prepare students for success in Chicagoland’s vibrant food service industry. The program is available to traditionally underrepresented or vulnerable populations, such as women of color, survivors of domestic violence, and low-wage workers.

The training is welcoming to those without a high school diploma or GED and individuals who are 18 years of age or older who are interested in a sustainable career in the food service industry.

YW Culinary Students:

  • Develop culinary and food service skills
  • Earn a paid stipend while learning
  • Receive hands-on experience preparing bulk meals for YWCA’s Mary Lou’s Place domestic violence shelter
  • Develop employment skills such as communication skills, interview practice, and resume writing
  • Earn a ServSafe Food Handler and Manager’s Certificate
  • Have access to YWCA financial education resources and workshops like Basic Money Management
  • Gain industry knowledge and learn from guest chefs
  • Receive job placement and retention assistance

After completing 8 weeks of the YW Culinary program, students participate in a 4-week internship in the YWCA kitchen, where interns will:

  • Take the lead in meal planning
  • Have hands-on experience preparing evening meal for our shelter

Questions? Email Juan Fuentes at jfuentes@ywca-ens.org

Upcoming Virtual Informational Sessions: 

  • Wed May 31 at 11 AM at YWCA Evanston/North Shore
  • Mon June 5 at 1 PM at YWCA Evanston/North Shore

Upcoming Cohort

Summer 2023 Cohort Dates:
JULY 10 – SEPT 1, 2023

Class Schedule  

  • Mondays 10 am to 12 pm
  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10 am to 4 pm 

Click here to learn more about the program

Why should you sign up for YWCulinary?

“YW Culinary has been the best thing that has happened to me. "
2019 Graduate