The Problem & Solution



The Chef-In-Training Program strives to reduce violence in our communities by giving young adults the skills they need to land a sustainable job in the restaurant industry and stay off the streets. In this way, young adults will not need to resort to a street culture of  violence and illicit activity to make ends meet.

  • Children from poor families have a much greater chance of becoming involved in violent crime than children from better-off families. In fact, children of poor families are more likely to become violent criminals than even children who are abused or neglected. (The Surgeon General’s report)
  • Gun violence is higher than motor vehicle accidents as a leading killer of young people in the United States and was second only to drug overdose. Americans Youth on Fire
  • The correlation between poverty and violence is so strong that Oakland and San Francisco are investing significant tax dollars in resolving the high rates of unemployment and poverty that plague the city’s youth. Even with the government initiatives like SF’s MYEEP to solve these issues, there is still an egregious need for access to opportunity for youth facing barriers including poverty and cultural differences. 
  • African Americans between the ages of 15 and 29 are 18 times more likely than their white peers to be the victim of a gun homicide. Young African American women are six times more likely than young white women to be the victim of a gun homicide. (Strong Nation)


There is an egregious need for job training among youth in underserved communities, especially young women, youth of color, and those in 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 needed to land a first-time culinary job with competitive wages, thus establishing financial independence and launching their careers.

  • Poverty and lack of educational and employment options have been proven to cause violence, crimes of opportunity, and high incarceration rates. (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Strong Nation)
  • 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.
  • Schools with majority African American or Latino student populations are significantly lower-performing on average than the schools with a majority of white students. Facing poverty and educational disadvantages, many young adults are unable to secure reliable jobs and resort to a street culture of violence and crime. (Oakland Youth Indicator Report). 


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.

​CIT Success Stats

  • Earning power increases by 60% upon completion of internship
  • Alumni reported increased earning power of up to 500% 3-7 years post-graduation
  • 94% of graduated interns that continued in the restaurant industry post-internship 1 year after
  • 71% of interns that continued in the restaurant industry post-internship 3-7 years after

​”We offer personalized, multi-faceted training to underserved youth, giving priority to foster youth, young women, 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

Long-term change to reduce poverty is only possible with a multi-layered solution that provides each individual candidate not only with vocational training, but a support network within the community, job placement assistance, life skills training, and personalized, one-on-one mentorship both during and post-internship (2017 Oakland Unite Independent Evaluator). Sprouts’ partners with wraparound programs in order to provide each Chef-in-Training intern additional layers of direct support: case management, career readiness classes, family assistance, and transportation assistance.

Employment training programs, complemented with life support resources, are more effective at leading individuals to success. (Mathematica Policy Research, 2017). 


BAY: (510) 680-3614
Sprouts Locations

San Jose
San Diego
San Francisco
New York City
Headquarters: 3206 Hannah Street, Unit 1, Oakland CA 94608