On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, approximately 12 female inmates, who currently call the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Women’s Transitional Facility home, were able to gain experience and skills they will be able to use when they return to their real homes after serving their time.
The women cooked food, cleaned dishes and served breakfast to emulate working in a real restaurant.
Once a week, those who are interested can take part in a culinary program designed to not only help develop a skill they may use in the workforce upon their release but also a skill they may use to prepare healthy low cost meals for their families.
The culinary program is taught by a member of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office kitchen staff who volunteers his time to put on the course.
Those who are successful in the training and fit the necessary criteria are then given the opportunity to apply for the Culinary Arts program with Jobtrain. If accepted, they may receive professional certificates and/or job placement opportunities to keep them employed and providing for themselves post-release.
In speaking with one such inmate, who is currently working for a local café as a condition of her work-furlough program, she stated her own personal mantra since Jobtrain graduation has been “I did everything wrong, but got everything right.”
Despite having had professional positions in the past, she never truly understood the value of money until she found herself really working for it. She is looking forward to her release at the end of May because, as she stated “I feel I will now have something to better myself and take care of my baby.”
The simulated restaurant concept is a new addition
to the in-house training designed to give the inmates more of a real life
working experience, however, it may become more of a regularity depending on
feedback from inmates and staff. By all accounts, however, it is looking good
to become a regular event!