People-Based. Market-Driven.


Kitchens for Good launches apprenticeship-focused staffing enterprise

May 23, 2022

Congratulations to Kitchens for Good in San Diego on the launch of their new staffing business Kitchens for Good Works!

Candidates first complete a 10-week pre-apprenticeship course at Kitchens for Good, and receive a weekly stipend during this time. Job-ready graduates are then placed into temp-to-hire culinary arts apprenticeships with local restaurants and hotels.

Once placed, apprentices complete 2,460 hours of work over 17 months under the supervision of a journeyman at their job site and prepare for line cook, prep cook and sous chef roles. The pay rate begins at $17-$18 per hour and gradually increases as apprentices master new competencies. Completion of the apprenticeship is equivalent to an Associate’s degree.

In the 6 years prior to the pandemic, Kitchens for Good trained over 300 individuals for placement into apprenticeships with employer partners and its own catering social enterprise, which they closed in 2020 due to COVID restrictions. With the new staffing enterprise, Kitchens for Good is the employer-of-record for 90 to 180 days before individuals are eligible for conversion to hire by employer partners. With this approach, the organization can contract with employers for starting wage rates and ensure apprentices receive any supports they may need. Some of the apprentice candidates are aging out of foster care or have been previously incarcerated.

To pilot the new enterprise, Kitchens for Good placed an inaugural cohort of 9 graduates with 5 existing employer partners, encountering some communications and process gaps that have been addressed for the next group of pre-apprenticeship trainees who graduate July 1. With the new group, for example, onboarding will take place 2 weeks ahead of course completion so interviews can occur during this period and apprentices can start work immediately after graduation and avoid the 2-week lag the pilot group experienced. Apprentices’ contact info will also be removed from resumes to avoid any inadvertent (and confusing) direct hire offers after the initial interviews.

Along with these lessons learned, Director of Human Resources Juanita Atitsogbuie credits Lindsey Lortie at our member Blue Jacket Staffing with providing helpful guidance about internal workflow design and Mark Winter with our Supplier Partner WinSource Group for his valuable insights on pricing strategies.

Juanita oversees onboarding and HR compliance for the new enterprise, and Director of Operations Lori Love is focusing on Employer Partner Relations. Each candidate is also assigned a Career Coach, and the business is using SmartSearch as its recruitment and staffing software. Their goal is to train and place up to 25 new apprentices each quarter.

Culinary apprenticeships offer a solid pathway to upward mobility and rewarding careers for individuals who are passionate about cooking, and we wish the team at Kitchens for Good a very successful new venture!

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