CCS launches food service training program


Friday 01 October 2021

By Laura Vallejo

Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY – Catholic Community Services of Utah has launched a new program to help homeless people become self-sufficient.

St. Vincent’s Kitchen Academy is a 12 week training program designed to teach cooking and life skills. It is the first program of its kind in the state.

“This is a huge thing, more for our customers than for anyone else,” said Randy Chappell, who leads CCS’s basic needs program.

The cooking academy is “a great opportunity for individuals to learn to cook, not only for themselves but for employment opportunities,” he said.

Unemployment and low wages often contribute to a person’s risk of becoming homeless. “Sustainable employment is one of the keys to creating and maintaining housing stability,” according to the CCS press release announcing the launch of St. Vincent’s Kitchen Academy.

Right now, the restaurant industry needs workers, and students in this program can fill that need once they graduate, Chappell said.

“With the proper training, clients will leave the program ready to enter the low-barrier catering employment industry,” the press release said.

The two people in the Cooking Academy’s First Class “are super motivated and ready to move on to self-sufficiency,” said Chappell.

People who are in the cooking academy are trying to move forward in life and “are willing to do other things even if it was outside of their comfort zone,” he said.

During the 12 weeks of training, participants will receive hands-on training from culinary professionals in the new state-of-the-art kitchen at the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul dining room. Participants in St. Vincent’s Kitchen Academy will earn a Food Handler’s License as well as Line Cook certification.

“Upon completion of the program, clients will also receive a year of housing and employment case management services, as well as experiential learning opportunities through internship and placement assistance,” says the press release.

The cooking academy is set to start its next class in January 2022; registrations will begin soon. They are planning a group of 10 in this class, but may increase the size of the class in the future, Chappell said.

Those who wish to participate in the program must complete an application and pass an interview.

For more information on St. Vincent’s Kitchen Academy, visit

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