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Work Options for Women
A Daniels Fund Impact Story
General Operating Support
Grant Funding Area:
Homeless And Disadvantaged
Grant Impact Area:
Transitional Housing with Supportive Services
Grant purpose: To provide support for Work Options for Women which provides on-site employment and training to low-income women.
How this organization is helping make lives better: Work Options for Women provides culinary skills training to low-income women. The goal is to help them prepare for jobs in the food service industry so they can work their way out of poverty and into self-sufficiency. 100% of the organization’s clients are living at or below the poverty line, 85% are unskilled workers with no employment history, and 41% are homeless. After completion of the program, those numbers change dramatically: 100% of its graduates are employed before graduation, 80% mark their one year anniversary of employment, and 100% are in stable housing. In addition to providing rigorous culinary training, WOW also provides these women with individual case management, job placement, and follow-up services. The program operates as a “social enterprise” where the women in the program work at and operate a large cafeteria at an office building in Denver, which generates revenues to fund WOW’s programs. In 2009, WOW added a second restaurant location downtown, which allowed the organization to increase the number of clients served from 16 to 25, reduce the waitlist for its program, and employed four of its former students as staff.
Story of a life made better: Life before Work Options for Women holds no comparison to what Rene knows now. The difference is like night and day. After experiencing hardships and many losses, Rene decided that enough was enough. She had reached a turning point and discovered a determination within her that would transform life as she knew it. As a result of this new found focus, she enrolled in the Work Options for Women program.
“I wanted a better life for me and my children,” she says. Her resolve to make change happen fueled her drive to maintain a positive attitude and get to school every day no matter what she was facing outside of the kitchen. Due to this dedication Rene became the only student in her class to attain perfect attendance throughout her training and internship experiences. Her natural aptitude for working in the kitchen primed the foundation upon which her professional success could grow, as indeed it has. She completed an internship at a catering company, after which she was offered a full-time position by the Executive Chef. Through the help of Work Options for Women, as well as her own ambition and positive reputation, she earned a professional advancement opportunity with a large food service operation. As of April 2008, Rene reached nine months of employment with that company. “Work Options for Women changed my life,” she says. “I am so grateful.”
Work Options for Women
1200 Federal Boulevard
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