State Grant Deepens Training and Employment Support

February 3, 2023

Young man in white chef's coat holds framed certificate over his head.

A $750,000 state grant will expand our culinary training and support services for program graduates as they enter the workforce.

The award from California’s “Breaking Barriers Initiative” bolsters the 10-week course at our Fresh Starts Culinary Academy and adds support for graduates hired in six-month transitional positions in our kitchens.

“Homeward Bound is thrilled and grateful to expand training options for our culinary students, enhancing skills and providing amazing, collaborative opportunities to grow in the dynamic food industry,” says Mary Kay Sweeney, Homeward Bound’s Co-Chief Executive Officer.

Students from Homeward Bound’s shelter and housing programs, as well as low-income students from the community, receive the award-winning Fresh Starts training plus job placement support at no cost. The program has operated since 2001.

Grant funds helped add a culinary instructor position and support a new partnership with Community Action Marin to provide bilingual financial literacy training and professional development coaching for transitional employees, as well as outreach support to future students.

Homeward Bound maintains wraparound support services for trainees, including transit vouchers, professional development courses, job search assistance, housing navigation, and links to community resources for healthcare, mental health, childcare or other needs.

Fresh Starts Culinary Academy offers four 10-week sessions per year and expects to serve approximately 50 students plus transitional employees this year.