ARCHS' Culinary Arts Program graduated 12 female ex-offenders on June 25, after they completed an eight-week class at St. Louis Community College - Forest Park. ARCHS' program has prepared the female participants for access to traditionally male career paths such as chef, head cook, line cook, institutional cook, and more in the culinary field. Good jobs that pay a living wage can stabilize families.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, women ex-offenders are more likely to live with their minor children than men and the number of incarcerated women has skyrocketed, at rates exceeding men.
Women in the program are currently under state or federal supervision with probation and parole officers in St. Louis City or County.
Their academic culinary training has led to certification with the National Restaurant Association for 100% of the graduates. Plus 50% of the graduates have already earned the more rigorous "ServSafe" certification. All of the graduates are eligible to continue their career studies at the college in the fall semester or whenever they so choose.
This is the third consecutive year ARCHS has partnered with Employment Connection and St. Louis Community College to provide this program for female ex-offenders. Several of the new graduates were scheduled for interviews at major entertainment and restaurant venues downtown in the hours immediately following their graduation ceremony.
Of the 26 graduates from the previous classes of 2013 and 2014, 85% were placed in jobs and 62% went on to earn ServSafe certification. Productive, law-abiding lives continue to build for these women as 77% are currently employed and 95% have not returned to prison.