The Problem & Solution



The Chef-In-Training Program strives to reduce violence in Oakland and the greater Bay Area by giving young adults the skills they need to land a sustainable job in the restaurant industry. In this way, young adults will not need to resort to violence and illicit activity.

  • Within the city limits, African Americans are 24 times more likely than whites to be arrested and booked into the Alameda Juvenile Justice Center – Oakland Youth Indicator Report
  • Oakland is considered one of the 5 most violent cities in the United States – USA Today
  • Poverty, crime, and violence are some of the most critical issues that Oakland youth face today (Bennett, Patricia).
  • In 2010, 30% of people killed in Oakland were young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. Seventy-seven percent of males under the age of 18 in Alameda County are boys and young men of color. – Urban Strategies Council


There is an egregious need for job training in Oakland and the Bay Area, especially among youth of color and those leaving foster care. ​Poverty not only disenfranchises entire populations, but it leads to violence and crime. ​Sprouts Chef in Training Program tackles this problem​ by teaching in-need youth the professional skills they need to land a long-term culinary job with competitive wages. We give priority to youth of color and those leaving the foster care system.

  • In 2015, 53% of African American males in Oakland were either unemployed or not in the labor force (i.e. looking for work).-OFCY Demographic Report
  • The number of foster youth has tripled in the past 20 years. When foster youth age out of the system, 51% are unemployed.”Oakland Fund for Children and Youth
  • Youth are growing up in one of the most difficult labor markets in generations, and the level of youth ages 16-23 employed nationally has been teetering at a historic low.Oakland Youth Indicator Report
  • One-third of former foster youth are reported to experience a period of extreme poverty during their young adult years with extremely low earnings.” (Juvenile Justice, Information Exchange)


Sprouts Chef-In-Training Stats

  • 50% of participants are in the foster care system
  • 100% of participants are living in low-income household


The Chef-In-Training program helps reduce violence and poverty in Oakland by empowering young adults in need to land sustainable jobs in the Bay Area’s booming restaurant industry.


​”We offer personalized, multi-faceted training to youth in need, giving priority to foster youth and youth of color. We work directly with wraparound, reintegration and foster care programs to provide each intern with the life, vocational, and interpersonal skills they need to overcome their disadvantages, land a sustainable job in the restaurant industry and ultimately break the cycle of poverty and violence.” – Karen Rogers, Chef-In-Training Director, Sprouts Founder

“It’s a good time and place to be a cook. Companies like Google and Airbnb hire top culinary talent for their in-house cafeterias. Food-service providers like Whole Foods and Bon Appétit can offer cooks decent-paying gigs. So can food tech start-ups such as Hampton Creek.” Edible East Bay

“The city’s tech-fueled economic boom has fed rapid growth in new dining destinations. However, the demand for restaurant work is much greater than the supply of workers.” – Edible East Bay

​CIT Success Stats

  • 83% of interns that continued in the restaurant industry post-internship 1 year after
  • 77% of interns that continued in the restaurant industry post-internship 2 years after
  • 67% of interns that continued in the restaurant industry post-internship 3-7 years after


BAY: (510) 680-3614
Sprouts Locations

San Jose
San Diego
San Francisco
New York City
Headquarters: 169 11th Street, San Francisco CA 94103