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Congratulations Skill Center Graduates!

The Community Kitchen and Lift programs are a part of the St. Mary’s Food Bank Skill Center Programs offering hands-on training programs in the food service industry and warehouse and logistic sindustry for those with barriers to employment. Students gain the skills to get jobs offering livable wages, benefits, and opportunities for advancement through hands-on food service training as well as classroom studies. During the past decade, the Community Kitchen has provided thousands of meals to those in need, while transforming the lives of countless participants and families. New sessions start every three weeks. In addition to training, each student receives job-placement assistance and support following graduation.


“Don’t be afraid to be you. Don’t be afraid to fail. Push through failure. When you push through failure, you learn where the mistakes are. And when you do fall down, pick up where you left off and keep pushing.” – Casey



“My favorite part of Community Kitchen was learning culinary arts. I had tremendous fun and an excellent experience. More importantly, I am very proud of myself for being highly motivated. Plus, I want to give a big major thanks to all the chefs, staff, faculty, family and loved ones for the support and believing in me too. Thank you so very much everyone.” -Miguel


“My favorite part of the Lift program was that it not only taught me a new skill, but it also taught me how to be normal and function in society as a regular person that’s now moving forward in life.” -Tanner



“My favorite part of Community Kitchen was giving back to the community. To step outside of yourself and help others is key to a happy life. If you do the next best thing you will suceed. I would like to thank my Higher Power, God, with God all things are possible. Doing God’s will everyday is important, and that is being compassionate towards others and that’s what St. Mary’s is all about! Nothing changes, if nothing changes.” -Darlana


“My favorite part of Community Kitchen was working and learning and having fun along the way. I would like to thank the whole Community Kitchen staff and everyone that put forth the time, sweat and all the long hours to make all this possible. Thank you! – Patrick



“My favorite part of Community Kitchen was learning new things and being around peeople who share similar interests. I would like to thank all of the Community Kitchen staff, Lawrence for helping me find work, Justice and Jessica for helping me while going through the program.” -Samuel



“My favorite part of the Lift program was seeing my classmates together. We all made it fun and easy to show up every day, along with our teacher Jason. I would like to thank all the staff, even the Community Kitchen staff. They all work together to help you learn. It’s like finding another family in my life moving foward.” -Keith



“My favorite part of the Lift Program was working with Jason (Lift Instructor), and him going the extra mile to help. I would like to thank all the Lift and Community Kitchen staff for cooking for us every day.” -Blake


Do you or someone you know have barriers to obtaining employment?

Ready to get started?

Program Requirements

Program Requirements

All candidates that are interested in the Community Kitchen program must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently facing a significant barrier to employment
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Authorized to work in the United States
  • Able to pass a drug test
  • Do not have an arson or a sexual offense on criminal record
  • Agree to a drug test and random testing throughout the program
  • Agree to a background check
  • Have sincere enthusiasm and interest in the foodservice industry
  • Living in a stable living environment i.e. shelter, own/rent
  • Able to attend classes Monday- Friday from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Able to arrive at classes on time and prepared for the day
  • Able to engage in regular, steady employment in the foodservice industry upon completion of the program


How to Apply

Classes begin every three weeks. Candidates are expected to commit to the 9-week program and adhere to a strict attendance and punctuality policy. Classes are held Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The following steps have been put into place to ease the admissions process of applying to Community Kitchen. If you cannot commit to program requirements currently, please do not apply until you can. With classes starting every four weeks there are multiple opportunities and flexibility for arranging life schedules.

  • Step one: To be considered for an upcoming class please apply online or download the application and deliver to 3003 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85009. Applications may be faxed to 480.287.8728.
  • Step two: Attend an Information Session which are held every Wednesday at 10 a.m. at our training facility located at 3003 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85009 in the University of Phoenix Programs Center. The session is approximately one hour. Download Map.
  • Step three: All interested candidates will be invited to a one-on-one interview with a Community Kitchen staff member. Once the above steps have been completed we will:
    • Accept: Accepted candidates will be notified in writing regarding their enrollment date, orientation information, and next steps.
    • Waitlist: If no openings are available for the next upcoming class, accepted candidates will be placed on a waitlist.
    • Decline: Declined candidates will be notified in writing if they were not selected for the program and will be provided with other community resources.
  • For more information or assistance with your application please contact Community Kitchen at [email protected] or call (602) 343-3183.


  • Why does this program exist? To empower disadvantaged adults to achieve self-sufficiency through job training, personal development, and employment in the foodservice industry.
  • What skill level do students have after completing the program? Students receive a 12-week condensed program with a combination of classroom studies and practical learning. When students fully participate and practice the skills they learn, they will be qualified for a dishwasher, prep, or line cook position.
  • What is the average hourly wage earned by the graduates? The wages vary depending on each student’s attitude, skills, and abilities. Most graduates start out earning $12 per hour.
  • Do students have to pay for this training? Thanks to generous community donors, the program is offered at no cost to people who need assistance and are looking for a positive life change.
  • What is the average class size? Class size is 18 students per session with new sessions starting every three weeks.
  • Does the program provide housing for students during the training? Housing is not offered as part of the program; however, students can be referred to agencies that do offer these types of services.
  • How do people find out about the Community Kitchen? The majority of students learn of the Community Kitchen program from other social service agencies where they are already receiving assistance.
  • Where are classes held? The training is conducted at St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in the University of Phoenix Center. The physical address is 3003 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85009. (This is our only location.)
  • Are graduates guaranteed a job? The majority of graduates are working in great careers shortly after graduation. Every individual has different life circumstances, ability levels, and motivation levels that can affect employment; therefore, we cannot “guarantee” employment to every graduate.

For more detailed information, call our information line at (602) 343-3183

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Looking for more information? Reach out to one of our team members for more details on children’s feeding programs.