A recent WORLD magazine article highlights the success of a Springfield, Missouri faith-based organization committed to “eliminating poverty from the inside out.” The Victory Trade School and Victory Mission equip men with the job training, work ethic, and personal confidence necessary to achieve sustained self-sufficiency.
Victory Trade School (VTS) prepares previously unemployed men with skills to enter the culinary arts industry by certifying students in seven areas of food production and restaurant management through a one-year program. Unlike many traditional trade schools, VTS students leave the program debt-free, with a GED and demonstrated leadership skills. As a result, VTS has an almost 90 percent graduation rate and a 100 percent job placement rate.
The effectiveness of the VTS training is also evidenced in the organization’s two very successful restaurant businesses. The award-winning Cook’s Kettle Restaurant serves the Springfield community every week day and is staffed by the program’s participants. The Branch Bistro Kitchen & Catering is run by a team of certified chefs and provides students opportunities to learn both the culinary and business management aspects of the restaurant and catering industry.
The leadership of Victory Trade School understands that successful job training and long-term employment can only occur once a man addresses the social or relational breakdown that led to addiction or poverty in the first place. That’s why every man who enters the job training program must first participate in a year-long program that offers recovery classes, life skills programs, and educational opportunities.
Victory Trade School is just one of the many programs offered by Springfield Victory Mission that offer holistic assistance to impoverished or addicted men and women. The mission also provides an alcohol, drug, and abuse addiction recovery program, short-term and long-term housing for men in the programs, and a residential facility that empowers women with addiction recovery assistance, job skills training, and educational opportunities.
As VTS and Victory Mission understand, poverty in the United States is not usually the result of mere material need. The collapse of marriage in low-income communities, a skyrocketing unwed birthrate, and a breakdown in the foundational relationships of civil society can all contribute to a generational cycle of poverty.
As Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield write in a new Heritage paper this week, Understanding Poverty in the United States, policymakers must begin to accurately assess the actual living conditions of the poor in order for government welfare programs to effectively help those in true deprivation. Successful anti-poverty outreach and policy must begin to promote the profound benefits of work, marriage, and family for decreasing poverty rates.
To learn more about Victory Trade School, check out WORLD Magazine’s article on the organization.