Graduating Class #82
Article & Photographs by Emily Bressler
Graduates Full of Hope Union Mission partners with The Landings Club, United Way, and The University of Georgia to offer a free 8-week job training program. During this program, participants engage in hands-on culinary training that will help them obtain employment in the restaurant and food service industry. After completing the program, the students will receive a ServSafe Certification, job placement support, and life skills supportive services. Anticipation and excitement are felt through the air as the graduates from class #82 line up before walking into the graduation ceremony. One of the graduates spoke to another saying,
“I’m so nervous that I’m going to get up and trip while walking across the stage.”
The graduates each proudly walked across the stage to receive their certificates as a wave of relief washed across them knowing they succeeded in completing the program. Before entering the 8-week Culinary Arts Training Program, the graduates had a wide range of experience in the kitchen. Anthony, a recent graduate, has been cooking at different locations all across Savannah for the past 15 years. Elizabeth, another class member of #82, says that her experience in the kitchen was limited.
“It is something that I thought I could use to get me further in the workforce.”
However, with their certificates in hand, all of the graduates have big plans for how they will apply their new abilities and knowledge. Even though they attended the same class, their goals are very different. One graduate plans to provide meals to grade school students, another wants to be a chef on a cruise ship, and another graduate wants to specialize in seafood preparation. The possibilities are endless.
One topic that the graduates all agree on is that their dream job would not be possible without the wonderful instructors that they had during the eight week course. “I loved all of the chefs. Their smiles are what kept us going”, says Teal. Larry says, “What got me was that it felt like [the chefs] enjoyed what they were doing so they helped me learn better.”
Union Mission would not be able to host the Culinary Arts Program without support from United Way, The Landings Club, University of Georgia, and the entire community!