December 18, 2017
 
Root Awarded $500K State Grant for New Training Kitchen

November 30, 2017 — Root, a Salem nonprofit, culinary arts social enterprise founded a year ago to help at-risk youth gain skills leading to job placement, recently announced it was awarded a $500,000 grant from the state to help finance a new training kitchen.

The competitive Workforce Skills Capital Grant was are awarded to educational institutions that demonstrate partnership with industry and align curriculum and training credentials with the employment needs of businesses.

Selvin Chambers, executive director of Root, said, “We are very grateful to the state for their vote of confidence in the mission and work of Root NS that this generous grant represents. Our training and personal development programs offer direct benefit to the young people in our programs and to the hospitality industry that desperately needs skilled entry-level workers.”

The grant, which must be matched by Root NS, will help finance as state-of-the-art training kitchen at Root NS’s facility in Shetland Park in Salem. The facility also includes the Root Café and the HarborPoint at Root, a special-event space. Both offer hands-on experiential learning opportunities for Root partners-in-training, and are open to the public.

"These grant awards are the outcome of private, public, and educational partners coming together to fill pressing skills gaps in the economy,” said Secretary Acosta. "By utilizing this collaborative approach, the Skills Capital Grant Program helps to ensure that the next generation of Massachusetts workers has the training necessary to access high demand jobs."

Root helps at-risk youths ages 16-24 transform their lives and futures through technical and experiential education in culinary arts, leading to employment and financial self-sufficiency. Its 12-week 300-hour program of classroom and kitchen training builds direct culinary and hospitality skills through learning and practice in Root’s facilities and 40 or more hours of direct hands-on training with our externship partners in their professional kitchens.

Root was founded by Jennifer Eddy who, after researching the North Shore restaurant industry, learned there was a shortage of skilled staff.

"There is a crisis on the North Shore and in Boston – they cannot find enough staff," Eddy said, quoted in Northshore Magazine.

Root is housed in a former garment factory and includes a commercial kitchen, café, classroom, and an event space large that can accommodate 300 people.

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