Sunflower Bakery prepares young adults with learning differences for successful employment in bakeries, supermarkets, restaurants, and other food-related businesses. Students spend six months on professional pastry instruction, food safety education, on-the-job training, and paid internships. Meanwhile, comprehensive employee development classes build skills and confidence in areas like workplace communication, problem solving, time management, resume writing, and more. Thanks to career guidance and an extensive network of employer partners in the area, more than 80% of graduates land a job within six months. The Sunflower Café focuses on front-of-house customer service and barista skills, offering three months of instruction followed by six months of paid Café employment for successful trainees. Week-long summer baking sessions are available for teens with learning differences, including ADHD and autism. Next on the menu? Bread baking and shipping/packaging training programs. Let’s get cooking.
COVID-19 Update: From March-May employment training programs moved to Zoom. Since then, they have continued in person (socially distanced) and the Bakery has seen a 35% increase in applications. It offers socially distanced Teen Baking Classes instead of its usual Teen Exposure Program and an At-home Kitchen Lab option for teens who prefer not to meet in person. The Café is open and bakery products can also be ordered online and picked up at certain locations or, depending on the order, delivered.
Headquarters: MD-Montgomery County
Where They Operate: MD-Montgomery County
Age Groups Served: Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-49)
Population(s) Served: Individuals with Disabilities; Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members; Men/Boys; Women/Girls; Students
Schools They Work In: Montgomery County Public Schools; Private schools in the MetroDC area
- % of Pastry Arts graduates securing a job within 6 months of program completion:
Awards & Recognition
Ruderman $50,000 Prize in Inclusion (2013)
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