This past year, we turned 30. Like many who pass this milestone, it has brought up a season of reflection, critical decisions, and forward-thinking.
We acted boldly.
We launched DC Central Kitchen Cafe, our first-ever fast-casual cafe that doubles as a job training site for young adults in Ward 8.
- 37 young adults have completed our hands-on program in the first year of operations
- 91% job placement rate among graduates from the Cafe
The [culinary] school is in the gorgeous new DC Central Kitchen Cafe on Mississippi Avenue in Ward 8, part of the THEARC complex, and a welcome addition to a food desert.
- Petula Dvorak, The Washington Post
We tested new solutions.
Through our Healthy Corners program, we rolled out a new initiative that incentivizes the purchase of fresh produce among SNAP customers – and we saw sales of our fruits and veggies at corner stores increase beyond expectations.
- 162% increase in fresh produce sales among stores participating in our FINI initiative
- 12,000 customers purchased fresh fruits and veggies through our Healthy Corners program
Credit DC Central Kitchen with a myth-busting demonstration project, begun in 2011, called Healthy Corners. The nonprofit, which combines job training with food access programs, purchases fresh fruit and vegetables in bulk and supplies 53 corner stores with healthy fare.
- Courtland Milloy, The Washington Post
We saw individuals take big steps.
Since completing our Culinary Job Training program in 2018, Manouchka has carved out a path on our team, starting at the front desk and landing her current role as a Workforce Development Program Assistant. Manouchka connects with and tracks the success of fellow graduates, and has taken on leadership of the program’s Women’s Empowerment classes. Read full story>
Two generations came together to celebrate new opportunities and a love of cooking at DC Central Kitchen Cafe. James, a team member at the Cafe and graduate of our flagship job training program, watched his 18-year-old son, Trey, graduate from our new program for young adults. Read full story>
We leaned into two ideas.
- Do what we do best
In everything we’ve done over the past three decades, there has been one clear through-line: using food as a tool for job training and job creation. In the year ahead, we’re focusing on our job training efforts and our job-creating social enterprises.
- Follow the impact
We’ve always known that food alone will never end hunger, but that creating pathways to a job and economic stability just might. We have a responsibility to direct our attention – and your generous support – to the highest impact activities that change lives.
For every $1 spent training people for new careers, we generate $7.05 in measurable economic and social benefits for our city.
We are making commitments to you.
- We will train more people than ever before. Between our flagship job training program in downtown DC and our new on-the-job-training model at DC Central Kitchen Cafe in Southeast DC, we will prepare 150 people for new careers this year.
- We will set graduates up for long-term success. This year, we’ll be rolling out DC’s first official apprenticeship program for hospitality management, where graduates can grow beyond entry-level employment and meet the talent needs of DC’s restaurants and hotels.
- We will invest in career pathways and upward mobility for our own culinary graduates at DC Central Kitchen. Because if we want to see change, what better place to start than right in our own kitchen?