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Silverfork is a free 9–week culinary arts job readiness program at Center on Halsted.

How Covid-19 is Impacting Programs like Silverfork

COVID-19 has created unforeseen obstacles but it won’t stop our mission of advancing the LGBTQ community, including our Silver Fork program participants who are just six program days away from graduation.

Silver Fork students are resilient and have found unique ways to continue their passion for food while sheltering-in-place.

  • One Silver Fork program participant has befriended an elderly neighbor and treats her with new recipes and conversation. We’re inspired by the student’s act of kindness, especially at a time when elderly are the most isolated in these times, and the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • Culinary Arts Director, Kyle Petersen (he/him) counseled a graduate who worked for a national restaurant and was facing hardships from decreased hours due to COVID-19. Kyle encouraged them to reach out to their manager and explore opportunities at other locations which worked and led to some extra income! While the restaurant industry is experiencing additional setbacks, Silver Fork staff are resourcing alternative options and continue direct communications with graduates and students, providing hope and resources.
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Silver Fork is more than a program. It provides hope for people who were once struggling, connects them to community and resources, and empowers people to be creative. With your support, we will continue preparing the next generation of culinary artists
and leaders.

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PROGRAM IMPACT: Silver Fork is a nine-week vocational training program for LGBTQ and allied adults who are unemployed or underemployed.

Participants receive hands-on training from local chefs in the culinary arts, including cooking, knife handling, sanitation, and etiquette. Graduates receive two certificates and receive job placement assistance.

Last year, 52 graduates were placed in restaurant kitchens and food service companies across Chicago.

Learn more about Silverfork here.

Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s largest community center dedicated to advancing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Movement.

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