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WOW's Mission is to help impoverished women gain the skills and confidence they need to work their way out of poverty and become gainfully and permanently employed in the food service industry.
Work Options for Women (WOW) is a culinary job-training program created in 1996 to help disadvantaged women obtain entry-level employment in the food service industry. WOW’s mission is to help impoverished women gain the skills and confidence they need to work their way out of poverty and become gainfully and permanently employed in the food service industry. Our goals and objectives: 1) Increase the number of disadvantaged, hard-to-employ individuals obtain entry-level employment in food service; 2) Insure that graduates have the culinary skills, life skills and extra support they need to retain employment and advance in the industry; and 3) Operate our organization efficiently, making the most effective use of our agency resources.
NEED: There is a great need for the type of job training and support we offer. Although Colorado’s unemployment rate has dropped in recent months (now 6.1%), the unemployment rate for low-income workers remains more than three times higher (21%). Those who are able to obtain entry-level employment must overcome the "cliff effect" that occurs when government assistance that helps to close the gap between low-wage jobs and basic living expenses (e.g. earned income tax credits and childcare assistance) ends abruptly rather than phasing out as incomes rise, meaning that a small raise actually leaves the worker in worse financial shape. In order to successfully compete for jobs in today’s labor market and overcome the cliff effect, low-skilled and hard-to-employ workers require the type of extra preparation, training and support that we provide. Our training program helps to give our students a foundation for future success. For many of our students, successfully completing our training program, obtaining their first paying job, and retaining that job is the first time that they have experienced the feeling of accomplishment that comes from successfully completing a long-term challenge.
POPULATION: Our programs are specially designed to help those who face multiple barriers to employment obtain and retain a job. A significant percentage of our students were homeless or living in an unstable housing situation when they entered our program. Many have a criminal history. Most have little or no previous work experience. Many have less than a high school degree or are struggling to overcome trauma related to domestic violence.
PROGRAM: Our Culinary Skills Training Program includes: basic culinary skills training program; ongoing access to advanced skills classes, paid internships and individualized supportive services. All of our students gain hands-on experience by working at one of our social enterprise cafes.
- Laurie Peterson
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