The Program

Trainees learn a range of employable skills, from food safety, knife skills, and recipe execution, to teamwork, professionalism, and customer service.

Trainees also attend daily life skills and employability classes on topics such as personal finance, housing, transportation, health, resume and cover letter writing, employee rights and responsibilities, employment benefits, and mock job interviews.


Life’s Kitchen is a free 16 week job and life skills training program for young adults between the ages of 16 and 20 who have significant barriers to employment. Trainees at Life’s Kitchen gain the skills necessary to find and secure employment and to live as financially independent members of our community. More important, Life’s Kitchen is about personal development. We want our trainees to develop a sense of direction and purpose in life; to be resilient, self-efficacious, and confident that they have the ability to bounce back from adversity and continue to move forward in life. Our ultimate goal is to put young people on a trajectory towards success.

While Life’s Kitchen is a nonprofit organization, we operation three real-world businesses to provide on-the-job work experience to at-risk young adults while generating revenue to support the program. Trainees at Life’s Kitchen spend 16 weeks, 5 days a week, 8 hours a day working in a commercial kitchen and classroom receiving mentorship from professional chefs and adult volunteers. Each trainee passes through a three phase culinary competency program learning skills ranging from safe food handling and sanitation to knife cutting techniques and basic culinary principles. Upon acceptance to the program, trainees have the opportunity to earn their state safe food handlers certification and their Managers ServSafe Certification.

In addition to culinary training, Life’s Kitchen also provides regular life skills classes. The life skills curriculum ranges from personal finance and budgeting to housing and transportation. We work with nearly all local banks to provide financial literacy training to program participants so they know how to open checking and saving accounts, develop a personal budget, manage credit, and finance purchases like a car. We partner with ValleyRide Regional Transit to provide training on using the valley’s mass transit system, and with the Boise Bicycle Project to provide access to low-cost bicycles and instruction on bicycle safety. The Wise Guys program, part of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, provides classes on health and personal relationships. Local attorneys provide classes on the rights and responsibilities of renters and how to read and understand lease agreements.

While at Life’s Kitchen, trainees receive support developing cover letters and resumes, job search techniques, managing their social media presence, practice job interviews. conflict management and communication techniques, and worker rights, responsibilities, and benefits. This information is intended to help trainees use their new culinary skills to find, secure, and maintain employment.

Trainees who did not complete high school have access to GED tutors and test taking support. All tutoring is free, and the program pays for GED testing. In addition to the GED, trainees are encouraged to consider further enrollment in higher education.

As trainees near the completion of the program, we provide opportunities for internships at local restaurants and support the transition to part or full time employment.

Once graduated, trainees are encouraged to stay in contact with Life’s Kitchen for ongoing support, training, and community. All trainees who attend Life’s Kitchen have ongoing access to the following resources:

  • Case manager and individual processing
  • ServSafe certification renewal
  • Assistance with resume updating
  • Current job openings with partner businesses
  • Career development
  • Regular alumni gatherings

For more information on alumni resources, check out our resources page, follow us at our Life’s Kitchen Alumni Facebook page, or contact our Program Director at (208) 331-0199 x305 or