Jetane Leday was one of five graduates of the Kitchens for Good apprentice program, which helps people learn the skills they need to succeed in the hospitality industry.
“I always knew I wanted to be a chef and I knew I was good at it, but I just needed someone who believed in me so I could believe in myself,” said Leday.
Before the program, Leday struggled with homelessness and unemployment.
âThis program not only taught me how to be a great cook, but it also taught me life skills. It taught me to be a leader, âsaid Leday. âHow to not only be a leader but get ahead in life. Not just in my career, but as a person, as a mother, as a daughter and as a sister. “
Dennis Crosby, director of apprenticeship programs at Kitchens for Good, said the students come from all walks of life including those previously incarcerated, homeless, unemployed or in foster care.
âThat was part of me. This is part of who I am now and this is where I want to go and we want to support them every step of the way, âsaid Crosby. âOur goal is to offer opportunities to people who like to cook, love food and want to turn to this industry. You want to be part of this industry. “
The training lasts 20 months. The first three months are spent in classrooms and teaching kitchens. Eleven students were honored at the ceremony for completing this part of the program.
They all took full-time training that covered both knife skills such as food safety and cooking or baking techniques, as well as life skills such as communication skills, resume writing and financial literacy. They practiced their skills daily by preparing meals for the food insecure San Diegans.
Culinary training celebrates graduation day
In the remaining 17 months, the trainees receive 2,400 hours of extra-occupational training with one of the more than 140 employer partners in the program.
“A good number of people at this level will start work next week,” said Crosby. “Some of them started working a few weeks ago.”
Since its inception, Kitchens for Good has helped over 350 trainees find jobs, with a placement rate of 84%. It also saved more than 311,000 pounds of food from being thrown away, and the group has provided more than 620,000 nutritious meals.
To learn more about Kitchens for Good and its training program, visit kitchensforgood.org.