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Root NS, Inc
  • 35 Congress Street, Suite 2350, Salem, MA 01970
  • 978-616-7615
  • Vocational Skills Training
Root Culinary Training Program
Program activities:

Root’s Youth Workforce Development Program provides young adults with the opportunity to gain hard and soft life skills that will increase their probability of long-term success in the workforce. Enrolled young adults, called Trainees, are immersed in the culinary arts and food service training, workforce readiness, and social and emotional learning throughout the 14-week program. All program graduates leave the program with 220 hours of culinary skills training; basic financial literacy training; completion of an externship (four shifts) at a local restaurant or food service business; a professional portfolio, including a resume and references; completion of soft skills workshops on social and cognitive skills, self-agency, communication, and confidence (the five critical skills identified for success and which employers expect); two industry-recognized ServSafe Certifications (Food Handler and Allergen Awareness); a $1,200 stipend. Upon completion of the program, all Trainees receive a certificate of graduation.

Root combines hands-on food-service training with job and life skills. Youth trainees commit to a four-hour shift, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Monday through Thursday, four days a week for a total of 220 training hours. Trainees work with a professional chef, receive one-on-one job & life coaching, and gain personal finance and workforce readiness skills, all while earning a stipend. The program starts with “back-of-the-house” training. Youth learn about utensils, equipment, setting up a workstation, knife skills, developing taste, and food safety, and receiving their ServSafe Food Handler and Allergen Awareness certifications. As the program advances, youth hone bread-making skills, make soup stocks, and prepare meats. An additional component is “front-of-the-house” skills training, such as customer service, the roles in a restaurant kitchen, bar and beverage basics, and proper food handling techniques. Beyond food service training, Root’s program helps young people develop essential life skills and workforce readiness. Upon graduation, youth receive follow-up advising and case management services for one year.

Root’s social enterprises – Retail Catering by Root and HarborPoint Event space – all provide further training and employment opportunities for Root graduates. Employment with Root includes 6-to-12-month kitchen production roles, and per-diem event support roles to augment other youth employment, all starting at at least $1.00 above minimum wage (no less than $16.00 per hour in 2023). Root’s social enterprises provide additional skill development, targeted coaching, and leadership opportunities to prepare alumni of our workforce development program for continued professional growth and access to a living wage.

Learn more or apply here: Culinary Job Training Program — Root (

Program is offered in: English
Participant demographics:

Root serves youth ages 16-26 with one or more barriers to employment who are interested in getting a job in the food service industry.

Anticipated number of SNAP participants per year: 18
Total hours: 16
Program duration: 14 weeks
Rolling Admission: No
Number of cycles: 3
Program start dates: Summer: May 20th – August 22nd, Fall: September 16th – December 19th
Sample schedule:
HoursActivity TypeMonTueWedThuFriSatSun
1 - 2:00 pmResume prep, job search, financial literacy, prof. co
1- 2:00 pmCooking techniques
2 - 4:00 pmTools, recipes
4 - 5:00 pmClassroom - Food presentation, daily recap
Other Schedule Information: *Note: Applications to the program are accepted year-round.
Is the program offered remotely? No
Is public transportation available? Yes

Location information:

35 Congress Street, Suite 2350, Salem, MA 01970Accessible via MBTA (there’s a bus stop in front of our building, and we are a 15-minute walk from the Salem commuter rail station).
Other requirements: Must be between the ages of 16 and 26, Must be able to lift 10 lbs and complete a knife assessment. Must be available Monday through Thursday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and able to complete the full 14-week program. Must be able to complete a W4 form and an I9 form.
Program is CORI friendly? Yes
Anticipated outcomes: All graduates will achieve two (2) industry certifications (ServSafe Food Handler and Allergen Awareness) and FitMoney certification
Other outcomes: Employment/Promotion, Basic skills gain, Industry skills gain, Off-site experience at one of Root's restaurant and food-service partners, Eligibility for employment opportunities in our Root Community Kitchen, which are only available to Root graduates

Participant Supports:

Participant Support CategoryAll participantsAs needed
DTA SNAP Child Care Referral
DTA SNAP Transportation Support
Test/License Fees
Loaned laptops
Are there any out of pocket expenses for the participant? No
Do participants receive any pay? Stipend
Other, please explain: A $1,200 stipend while also learning new skills and building connections

Contact Information

Program Liaison: Merlinda Marseille
Telephone: 978-616-7615
Program code: RNS-VT-CUL
ABAWD Qualifying? No