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The Salvation Army has been serving the Napa Valley since 1884. Through the years we have helped struggling families, nurtured the youth and given hope. There is always a chance for growth and change. And no matter what difficulties a person has been through, they can lead a self-sufficient and happy life.
This was the idea behind the November 2016 launch of The Salvation Army’s Napa Valley Culinary Training Academy—a program that welcomes people who have struggled with homelessness and substance abuse, and gives them a unique opportunity. Through this program, they are able to develop kitchen skills to support meaningful employment in local hospitality industries while instilling professionalism, confidence, and dignity.
The Napa Valley Culinary Training Academy is the only jobs-training program in Napa County specifically designed to provide employable skills to adults engaged in recovery from addiction, trauma or homelessness—to lessen the likelihood of returning to a harmful lifestyle that is dependent on social services. The Academy offers a path for those who have successfully overcome difficult challenges and are prepared to work toward employment and self-sufficiency.
Collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America was critical to the project and the creation of curriculum. The CIA has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education for more than six decades. The Napa Valley culinary world is very sophisticated, as are the employers; the CIA’s participation certifies the efficacy and quality of the program and ensures that students are trained to the highest industry standards.
Members of the Culinary Arts Training Program are provided several weeks of intensive training, which includes a National Restaurant Association ServSafe Certificate upon passing the ServSafe Exam. This includes a wide range of academic activities, directed hands-on training in a state of the art kitchen, community field trips to a variety of food service operations, and one-on-one mentoring provided by industry professionals.
We have a similar program in Lodi that has met great success. In fact, 90% of our students there have gotten jobs and maintained sobriety after one year.
This is the opportunity of a lifetime for those who have struggled in the past and are ready to begin a new life.
One of the components of successful recovery, according to experts in the field, is gainful employment. In addition to support networks of family and 12-step groups, work offers the individual in recovery the opportunity to continue to make progress toward realization of goals, improvement of familial and social relationships and rebuilding financial stability, among many other benefits.
Effective recovery, then, almost always involves an individual finding and keeping a job, and making a contribution to society through his or her efforts. To that end, our objective is to maintain a private-sector solution that teaches employable skills to adults engaged in recovery from addiction, trauma or homelessness—to lessen the likelihood of them sliding back into a harmful lifestyle, feeling more and more hopeless by the day.
It’s about more than just skills. It’s about dignity.
This constructive program instills self-confidence as our clients learn the discipline and dedication it takes to become proficient in the trade of food preparation.
Those who participate in the Acadamy are Napa County residents who are effectively dealing with challenges, are in recovery, and are prepared to transition to a jobs-training program geared towards employment. Students are selected based on completion of a written application, assessment by a case manager overseeing the respective program and in-person interviews with Salvation Army representatives.
We expect a lot of our students.
Unlike similar programs, this is a rigorous four-month program followed by a two-month internship that qualifies graduates to work in any aspect of the culinary industry. Two terms are offered each year. Each term can accommodate 10-14 students who attend courses of six to seven hours per day, five days a week. These courses include lectures, meal preparation, labs, group activities and field trips.
Course curriculum is designed by The Culinary Institute of America and Associate Professor Rebecca Peizer, with daily instruction provided by Executive Chef Paul Fields.
The Academy provides a quality experience—and our students must be ready to engage, learn and grow.
Please consider making a gift. Your donation ensures that the Culinary Training Academy can keep going. Who wouldn't want to be a part of something so uplifting for the Napa community? You can make a secure credit card donation here. Thank you.