Kimble’s Food offers training program for inmates

Published 8:50 am Friday, October 23, 2020

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Seven kitchen inmate workers at the Troup County Jail have successfully graduated from Skillet Skills, a voluntary training program by the meal provider Skillet Kitchens.

Skillet Skills, a training program which focuses on educating inmates on proper food handling, storage and preparation serves as a tool to help inmates have more job opportunities after incarceration.

The Troup County Sheriff’s Office has the program through a partnership with Skillet Kitchen, a division of Kimble’s Food by Design.

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Kimble’s William Pendergraph said the program is relatively new.

“We first launched it in January 2019, and it took us about six months to get off the ground,” Pendergraph said. “It was really hectic at first because we had so much demand for the program.”

The re-entry themed program strives to prepare inmates for release with enhanced job opportunities. Skillet Skills services more than 30 jails all over the south, while Skillet Kitchens is used in more than 100 facilities through the southeast. 

Pendergraph said the course work was created with restaurant and hospitality industry standards as guiding principles.

Inmates that participate in and graduate from the Skillet Skills program are presented with a certificate and have the opportunity to take the ServeSafe Training Food Service Handlers’ test. “This training combined with the experience they’ve gained while working in the jail’s kitchen will give them a leg up in finding gainful employment upon release, therefore reducing our community’s recidivism rate,” Pendergraph said. “They have to actually study for it, take a test and are given a legitimate certificate they can take to future employers.”

Pendergraph added that Donna Estes, TCSO Skillet’s local Food Service Director, said that there have been multiple requests from inmates to go through the program. 

“I certainly want to thank Kimbles and Skillet Kitchen for the incredible work they do for our inmate population and for providing this worthwhile training to our inmates to give them job training skills that hopefully they can put to use when they are released,” said Sheriff James Woodruff. “This gives them something they can take to a potential employee.”