Culinary training gives New Yorkers job skills—and hope for the future

For New Yorkers who have been homeless, have a criminal justice history, or who do not have a diploma, securing a well-paying job can feel daunting, if not impossible.

Through a range of workforce development program, Project Renewal helps individuals experiencing these challenges to obtain the jobs they need in order to achieve economic security and live independently.

One such program is our six-month Culinary Arts Training Program (CATP), which prepares over 200 New Yorkers for careers in the food service industry each year. Students in the program learn cooking theory and food preparation in a teaching kitchen, and then gain on-the-job experience through internships at local restaurants, like Del Posto and CookShop, and corporate dining services. Participants’ hard work pays off—over 80% of graduates have been placed in jobs since 1996, making the CATP twice as successful as similar programs.


The program is life-changing for participants like Kristina, a mother of three who once lived in a shelter and is now interning in the kitchen at Morgan Stanley. “With my internship and my new skills, I am more determined than ever to succeed,” she says. “To hear my three children say that they are proud of me brings me great joy—and it motivates me even more.” You can read an op-ed she penned about her story and CATP here.