Non-Profits Team Up to Foster Culinary Workforce Development in Baltimore City

To help some of Baltimore’s most economically disadvantaged residents prepare for  careers in the culinary arts, the American Heart Association (AHA), Maryland Food Bank’s (MFB) FoodWorks Program, and Living Classrooms Foundation are joining forces to launch a satellite location of the FoodWorks program in Baltimore .

The initiative began this week at the American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking with Heart Kitchen at the UA House at Fayette operated by Living Classrooms, which is located at 1100 E. Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21212, and will primarily recruit students from the Baltimore Target Investment Zone.

“FoodWorks was created to address some of the root causes of hunger and poverty, and now is the opportune time to join with established community organizations like the American Heart Association and Living Classrooms to expand this initiative even further,” said MFB President and CEO Carmen Del Guercio. “Launching this second location in the heart of Baltimore City will play a critical role in our efforts to broaden our reach and create more pathways out of hunger for Marylanders facing under and-unemployment.”

“FoodWorks has had a huge impact on my life. I now see food differently. It’s not just about eating food but how food can bring people together. It’s more than feeding someone and quenching their thirst. FoodWorks is instilling values and work ethic, giving you the life skills to go back and make something of yourself,” said Maryann Njoku, a graduate of FoodWorks Class 37.

“Workforce development helps level the playing field in our most under-resourced communities, and beyond – positively influencing the social determinants of health: factors that influence where and how people live, learn, work and play, and can have just as big a role in affecting health as medications and physical lifestyle changes,” said American Heart Association Greater Maryland Executive Director Tracy Brazelton.

“We’re so pleased to team up with Living Classrooms Foundation and the MFB to offer Baltimore City community members culinary education. We are grateful to the Rosenberg Foundation for providing the funding to make this collaborative effort possible,” said Brazelton.

Through 12-weeks of intense culinary training, FoodWorks students learn cooking fundamentals, food safety, sanitation essentials and other important skills employers seek in hiring a well-trained work force. Program participants also receive ServSafe® food safety certification and social services support from the FoodWorks case management team, as well as assistance landing jobs in leading venues across the region. Additionally, many graduates have become MFB program mentors and kitchen staff.

“We are fortunate to work with the AHA and the MFB to bring another exciting job training opportunity to unemployed and underemployed adults living within the Baltimore Target Investment Zone,” said James Piper Bond, president and CEO of Living Classrooms.  This collaboration will help us increase our capacity to connect adults to career opportunities that will help them achieve their aspirations.”

Those who are interested in joining an upcoming FoodWorks class or wish to learn more about the program can visit