Father Joe’s Villages.

Father Joe’s Villages has been investing in job training programs benefiting people who are homeless for over 15 years. Their goal is to help people gain skills, qualify for good jobs and get a head start toward independence.
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 their 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. Ralph shared, “Over the last year of my life, many changes have occurred! 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 and provides practical on-the-job training and skills certification in industries such as maintenance, security, retail, landscaping, warehouse, property management, bicycle repair and more. 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 brûlée recipe,” Father Joe’s Villages’ President and CEO, Deacon Jim Vargas shared with Giving Back Magazine. “They know that each step they take brings them closer to a stable job, closer to self-sufficiency and closer to home.”