The mission of Work Options for Women (WOW) is to help people overcome barriers to sustainable employment by building confidence while providing resources and culinary job training.
WOW was founded in 1997, when federal legislation aimed at reducing welfare rolls made it clear that without a successful job-training program hundreds of Denver-area women and their children would become homeless. At that time, there existed no programs in the city capable of bridging the gap between the federal requirements and the lack of realistic job opportunities for women with no job skills. WOW launched its job-training and job placement services in offices and a kitchen located at the Archdiocese of Denver.
WOW relocated into larger spaces in 1999 when the program was offered a concessionaire contract with the City of Denver at the Richard T. Castro Human Services Building. WOW remains the only comprehensive job-training program in the Denver area with a consistent track record of helping women attain marketable skills, take control of family and life challenges, and secure permanent employment.
In 2009, WOW opened up Cafe Options, a second training site which is open to the public for breakfast and lunch at 1650 Curtis Street. In January 2014, WOW programming was formally expanded to include advanced training which includes: advanced culinary skills classes, paid internships (workforce development), and supervisory skills training. Both current and former students in any of the WOW training programs are able to access a wide range of individualized supportive services. All students gain hands-on experience by training at one of two social enterprise cafes, and a third supervisory training site opened in the fall of 2014. WOW is proud to have recently been certified as an official apprenticeship-training site for sous chefs by the American Culinary Federation.
"As someone who has had the opportunity to work with several WOW students during their internships here at Sodexho - Regis University and has hired WOW graduates, I am able to see every day the hard work and subsequent successes of the WOW program..... Work Options for Women is one place that prepares individuals well to meet our demands for excellence."
Patrick Read Friley
"Work Options for Women's high level of success is a testament to the caring and individual attention given to each woman in the program."
Denver Department of Human Services
"I have grown to be self-sufficient and a positive single mother for my children."
"It's my first time completing anything and I did it all without a high school diploma or a GED."