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Father Joe’s Villages has been investing in vocational training programs and services benefiting people who are homeless for over 15 years. The goal of vocational training is to help people gain skills, qualify for good jobs and get a head start toward independence.

Client doing bike repair for Father Joe's Villages vocational training

Client doing bike repair for Father Joe’s Villages vocational training.

Creating Vocational Training at Father Joe’s Villages

In 2002, Father Joe’s Villages introduced the Freddie Evarkiou Culinary Arts Program (CAP), designed to prepare individuals for work in the restaurant and hospitality industries through classes, mentorship and hands-on training. This program has been so successful that in 2017, 92 percent of our culinary arts graduates got jobs in local restaurants, earning more than the minimum wage.

Ralph, a 2017 CAP graduate, was recently promoted to a full-time prep cook. CAP not only made this result possible but also helped him in other aspects of life.

Recently he said, “Over the last year of my life, many changes have occurred, mostly for the good. I have gained confidence in my work skills; my financial standing has improved significantly; I have become more sociable… [and] I have become independently responsible for my routine needs.”

Encouraged by CAP’s success, Father Joe’s Villages enhanced their job training program to target more industries needing well-trained, motivated and committed employees to fill vacancies. Their Skills Training Enhancement Programs (STEPs) started late last year.

What is STEPs?

STEPs is vocational training that provides practical on-the-job experience and skills certification that people need to qualify and apply for employment in industries such as:

  • Maintenance/HVAC
  • Custodial/Housekeeping
  • Laundry Attendant
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dish Washer
  • Prep Cook
  • Security Guard Card
  • Bike Repair
  • Home Health Care Aid
  • Property Management
  • Hydroponic Gardener

Upon completion of STEPs, graduates are well-equipped with current industry-specific job skills and ready to be committed, focused employees. Graduates leave STEPs with a certificate of completion, updated resume and the skills needed to sustain employment. They work with our Employment Specialist to find and apply for relevant positions.

How Vocational Training Benefits to the Community

While the program is still in its infancy, the impact can already be seen in the increased confidence and competence of STEPs’ students.

“I love to see the smiles on our students’ faces each time they master a new skill, whether it’s giving a bicycle a tune-up or mastering a crème brulee recipe,” said Father Joe’s Villages’ President and CEO, Deacon Jim Vargas. “They know that each step they take brings them closer to a stable job, closer to self-sufficiency and closer to home.”

Although the goal of the program is to help people who are homeless obtain housing stability, employment and income, there are many other benefits as well.

STEPs doesn’t just provide vocational training to people in need, STEPs also trains people for hard-to-fill positions in the community. Local business partnerships are essential because they ensure that our trained, skilled individuals find employment in today’s demanding job market.

Partnering with STEPs can make a business’s recruitment process easy and fast. STEPs helps the business gain qualified, competent team members
If you own a business and would like to work with us to prevent and end homelessness, we would love to partner with you! Contact us today. >>

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