Creating Economic Opportunities through Food: Fedcap Rehabilitation

Name: Fedcap Rehabilitation

What They Do: Founded in 1935, Fedcap Rehabilitation provides an array of services to youth and adults helping thousands each year graduate from high school, obtain vocational certification or a college degree, become work ready, obtain meaningful employment and achieve long term economic well-being. The organization is a standard-bearer in the field of vocational rehabilitation. Training people with disabilities and other barriers to achieving competitive employment has been at the core of their mission for more than 75 years. Fedcap Rehabilitation is a member of The Fedcap Group, a global network of nonprofit agencies dedicated to advancing the economic and social well-being of the impoverished and disadvantaged.

The Career Design School at Fedcap Rehabilitation offers a variety of vocational training programs. One of the most popular programs is Culinary Arts, which is housed at the Food Arts Center (FAC) in Midtown Manhattan, in a newly built state-of-the-art commercial kitchen. At the FAC, students prepare for their future careers in the food industry and learn a broad spectrum of culinary applications including food safety and kitchen sanitation, preparation of appetizers, salads, entrees, sandwiches, vegetables, pastas, soups, sauces, and baked goods to name a few. The students also learn about basic nutrition, kitchen operations, and customer service. The goal is to prepare students for entry-level positions in restaurants, catering companies, specialty food stores, corporate dining locations, and other food service establishments.

Since its inception in 2000, 486 students have completed the program with a 72 percent rate of successful job placement. Graduates have obtained jobs with Restaurant Associates, Red Rooster, Witchcraft, Subway, and numerous other New York City area restaurants, bakeries and caterers.

How They Do It: Before enrolling in a training program, potential participants must be referred by a state vocational rehabilitation agency such as New York’s ACCES-VR (which also provides funding for the program) or New Jersey’s DVR. The culinary training is 600 hours in length, which includes an internship in the community. Once training is completed, Fedcap Rehabilitation provides job placement assistance, including interview and resume preparation, placement counseling, and practical workshops that give graduates the skills and savvy to negotiate professional environments and employer expectations. And after they are hired, the organization offers individualized support and counseling program to help them navigate the transition to the workforce.

Mission: To create opportunities for people with barriers to economic well-being

Latest project/campaign: The FAC social enterprise, which employs graduates of the Culinary Arts program, has recently been selected and rewarded a fee-for-service grant by JP Morgan Chase’s Global Philanthropy division to provide catering service for The Fellowship Initiative program.

Major Funding: Contracts and grants

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Revenue: 80 million USD

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: Almost 13 percent of the U.S. population lives with a disability, and roughly half of this group are over the age of 65. The National Council on Disability reports that 12 percent of the working-age population have a disability, out of which 32 percent are employed. They represent more than half of all people in long-term poverty and are twice as likely to work only part-time and often for subminimum wages. The inadequacy of disability services coupled with discriminatory employment practices increase the likelihood of poverty for this demographic.

Fedcap Rehabilitation is helping the chronically unemployed enter and remain in the workforce. It is inspiring those with special needs to dream big dreams and succeed and is working to create a more inclusive and diverse food system.


Location:633 Third Avenue, 6th Floor New York, NY 10017
Core Programs: Vocational Rehabilitation, Training and Job Placement; Mental Health Services
Number of staff: N/A
Number of volunteers: N/A
Areas served: New York City, Washington, D.C., and parts of New Jersey
Year Started: 1935
Director/Founder: Steve Coons
Contact Information:

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