CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Downtown Charleston's emergency shelter, One80 Place, started a new program that taps into the city's food and hospitality industry, providing job training to help shelter guests get back on their feet.
Wanda Aiken is one of the guests taking advantage of the RISE Program. RISE stands for Raising Individual Skills for Employment. Aiken, 48, has been a guest at One80 Place for a few months now.
"I know I'm going to make it work this time," Aiken says.
The center's fund manager, Anne Jackson, says the program is integral in helping people move forward after tough times.
"It really empowers them," Jackson says. "It makes them feel good about their time here and feel like they're contributing in a really meaningful way."
She says the shelter serves 500 meals a day, and in the new location off Walnut Street, they turned their commercial kitchen into a classroom.
"It's a commercial kitchen designed for a training program, and then we've got folks on our staff helping train in the hospitality industry as well," Jackson says. "So, helping our folks with housekeeping and other jobs you may get at a local hotel."
Aiken, who has been unemployed since 2013, says she's optimistic.
"I'm getting the training that I need, all the support. The next thing I want is job and from that an apartment, a house," she says. And looking forward to the future. "I can imagine it because One80 Place gives me that hope. The new beginning that I was truly, truly searching for."
Subjects taught in the program include common kitchen terminology, basic knife skills, customer service, weights and measures, varied preparation methods for different types of foods like eggs, meat, vegetables and stocks; and ServSafe certification, One80 Place's website states.