The 73rd Culinary Job Training Graduation on Friday, December 16th was a time for joyful noise. Four young students broke out into celebratory song after graduating from the first-ever youth Culinary Readiness program. In all, we had fourteen graduates - eight adults from the full 11-week culinary program and six youth from an abbreviated course taught in partnership with Fostering Wellness. The students each received their diploma from IFFS Executive Director Dave Koch and Head Chef Terri Hutter. Friends, family, community dignitaries, board members and even Food Shuttle co-founders Jill Staton Bullard and Maxine Solomon were on hand to applaud each graduate and share in a feast prepared by the students.
After the ceremony, Graduate Gia Vincent expressed how much the program impacted her life. “I've learned a whole lot here and I currently have a job in the culinary field because of the dedication of Chef Terri, Bevin and Chef Kitty. I just want to thank everybody for everything that they did for all of us here. It was very rewarding.”
The Food Shuttle’s Job Training Program started in 1998 and is a 11-week intensive job and life skills program. The focus is on preparing grads for meaningful careers in food service with over 70% of students employed 18 months after graduation.
The youth Culinary Readiness Program is a result of a partnership between the Food Shuttle and Fostering Wellness, a nonprofit focused on helping young people age out of the foster care system. Funded in large part by a grant from GSK, the program provides job-skills training to a group of people who are largely left behind.