YW Culinary Program
YW Culinary is a 12-week job training program designed to prepare students for success in Chicagoland’s vibrant food service industry. The program is free.
Features of the program include:
- Develop culinary and food service skills
- Develop employment skills such as communication skills, interview practice, and resume writing
- Access YWCA financial education resources like Basic Money Management
- Earn ServSafe Food Handler Certificate
- Gain industry knowledge and learn from guest chefs
- Job placement and retention assistance
New This Year: We are offering a 4 week PAID internship!
After completing the YW Culinary program, students have the option to participate in a paid internship in the YWCA kitchen. Interns will:
- Take the lead in meal planning
- Have hands-on experience preparing evening meal for our shelter
- Earn income while learning
- Attend the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Customer Service Excellence training during your internship: get paid, earn a completion bonus, and get your ServSafe® ManageFirst Customer Service Certification
Upcoming Virtual Informational Sessions:
YW Culinary Cohort II
June 13 – August 5: YW Culinary Workforce Training
August 8 -September 2: YW Culinary Internship in YWCA Shelter Kitchen
YW Culinary Cohort III
September 12 – November 4: YW Culinary Workforce Training
November 7 – December 2: YW Culinary Internship in YWCA Shelter Kitchen
M, T, Th and Friday 10 a.m. to 4 pm.
Wed 10 a.m. to noon
Interested? Follow this link to complete an interest form and attend a virtual open house.
In this program you will learn:
- Develop knife skills and cooking techniques.
- Prepare recipes and menus.
- Connect and cook alongside classmates
- Earn your ServSafe Food Handler’s Certification.
- Career Development – Create an individualized career development plan while enhancing your skills in communication, interviewing and networking.
- Industry Knowledge – Gain industry knowledge by connecting with local employers, industry experts and business owners.
- Empowerment – Learn about workers’ rights, wage negotiation and tools you can use to feel empowered while reaching your employment goals.
“Even though we are not in a traditional setting, being in the class keeps me hopeful. Because I still feel like I’m working on my future.” – YW Culinary participant
YW Culinary 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 will prioritize the following candidates for enrollment:
- those who are interested in a food service career
- Chicagoland area residents
- those who have not completed a bachelor’s degree
- those who have received a referral through a partner agency
All students must be fully vaccinated against COVID 19 and show proof of vaccination.
There are a variety of ways to partner with us virtually:
- Hire YW Culinary graduates
- Share your expertise as a Guest Chef
- Participate on employer panel discussions
- Participate in mock interviews
- Give a virtual tour of your commercial kitchen
Are you an employer looking for qualified culinary staff? Partner with us to connect with candidates with a ServSafe Food Handler certificate who are professional and have a proven commitment to working in the food service industry.
Previous YW Culinary partners include:
- District 65
- District 202
- Whole Foods
- General Mills
- Ace Hotel – Chicago
- Yo Fresh Yogurt
- Whole & Free Foods, LLC – Every Body Eat
- Main-Dempster Mile
Contact Kristin Drake for more information.