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Meet Sharon

Workforce Challenge

"Five months ago I was homeless, living in a temporary shelter, and thinking to myself: 'Is this the end of the line for me?'" said Sharon Holloway. Ending homelessness has been a large challenge for Arlington County, and preparing the homeless to enter the workforce is a crucial component of finding a solution. Sharon needed housing and skills to enter the job market.

Workforce Solution

The Arlington Employment Center’s Culinary Skills Training Program was a 10-week pilot initiative designed to teach homeless individuals or those at risk of becoming homeless the skills necessary to begin careers in the culinary arts. The program also helps to provide individuals with permanent housing through Arlington County's Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program. After a rigorous screening and assessment process, 18 people applied for the program and 11 were accepted. Sharon Holloway was one of them.

Outcomes & Benefits

DC Central Kitchen, which has been providing culinary training to homeless people for the past 20 years, taught the students proper cooking techniques. New Hope Housing conducted workshops in life skills and money management. All the students successfully completed the program and passed the ServSafe certification exam. Ten of the 11 program participants have been placed into employment. Holloway says, "Now I have a job I love, a future and a secure place to live - all due to this program."

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