The D.C. government is partnering with the local hospitality and restaurant industries to help unemployed Washingtonians get specialized job training and find work.
At D.C. Central Kitchen, the new grant money will help expand a culinary arts program.
Marvin Bushrov, who hopes to someday become a certified chef and have his own business, is grateful to be part of the program.
"Because without it a person like me with the background I have, I wouldn't have this opportunity," he said. "So it's a real good opportunity."
Kitchen officials said participants are all D.C. residents and many have been chronically homeless or long-term unemployed. Some are coming out of incarceration or recovering from addiction.
D.C. Central Kitchen CEO Mike Curtin said, "We're not charity. This is an investment in our community's future. The work that we do is economic development work. We're training people, employing people. We're helping people find jobs so they don't cost us more money by going back to prison, living in shelters."
By the end of the program, students graduate with a food service certificate along with referrals from professionals in the ever-expanding D.C. hospitality industry.
The District government is investing up to $700,000 in this program, and another to be offered by the University of D.C. Community College. In all, 140 students will get hands-on training thanks to the grant money.
"We can really help put people in a position not just to earn money but to live a life of self-sufficiency," said Curtin.