Feelings of limited-to-no options, while unfortunate, are all too commonplace for those that find themselves back out in public and trying to enter the workforce after time in prison. In this state of hopelessness, Together We Bake is making a stand to give women who need a second chance the opportunities and tools to succeed.
Together We Bake provides granola, cookies, and kale chips for local eateries and its neighborhood Whole Foods. But beyond that, the company also provides skill training and empowerment classes for the women who work there.
Stephanie Wright told NPR that she co-founded the bakery in 2012 with her friend, Tricia Sabatini. “We realized there weren’t a lot of services for women [in need],” said Wright. Sabatini ran a successful baking business prior to Together We Bake’s opening.
The two women combined their professional and education expertise to open Together We Bake, providing its women with Serv-Safe certification training, and behavioral modification.
These tools, said Wright, have proven successful thus far both inside and out of the kitchen. Group meetings and workshops have helped 89 percent of the women who go through the Together We Bake program to pass the Serv Safe exam. The relapse rate, according to the bakery, is around 8 percent.
When asked about the business model by NPR, Sam Schaeffer stated that the program’s tenets mirror those that have been successful. Also a plus in Together We Bake’s training? Schaeffer noted that lots of people looking for jobs after prison turn to the culinary field, and there are increase number of employers who are open to hiring those with a criminal background.
In addition to supplying local retailers with pastry and bakery style foods, Wright said that Together We Bake will continue to help the women in its program to unlearn habits and supply them with behaviors that will elevate them. These skill will continue to propel these women upward into the food industry.
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