Before hearing about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, Alex Ayala had been laid off. Thanks to his social worker at Delaware Department of Social Services, he learned about an employment and training program called Delaware WONDER (Work Opportunity Networks to Develop Employment Readiness).
This employment and training program is led by Delaware Health and Social Services Division of Social Services (DHSS), which administers the SNAP Program in Delaware. It offers targeted career tracks in construction, culinary arts and manufacturing and broad-based job placement.
Alex felt the culinary arts track at the Food Bank of Delaware was a good fit for him.
“I put more time into cooking,” he pointed out. “That’s something I like to do.”
Culinary training at The Culinary School has already paid off for Alex.
Still more than a month away from graduation, he has already obtained full-time employment at Cafe 67 at the Newark Natural Foods Store.
Chef Instructor Donnie Stephens and Executive Chef Tim Hunter work Alex’s class schedule around his shifts at Cafe 67.
“They are the reason I am where I am now,” he says.
Graduation is scheduled for Thursday, February 2, and Alex looks forward to passing the ServSafe exam.
He understands that graduating from The Culinary School will help him land entry-level employment in the food service industry.
“I’ll need to work my way up from there. I can’t move too fast,”he says.
He also hopes to obtain his GED to help further his career.
Alex’s advice to students considering The Culinary School, “It’s fun; it’s worth it. If you are not employed, they will help you get employed. It’s not that easy to go from the streets to try to get employed with no help.”
Five years from now, Alex hopes to start a food truck business that will hopefully lead to his own restaurant. He envisions a diner-like business with breakfast, lunch and a variety of foods.
Alex knows in order to achieve this, he’ll have to work hard.
“If you want it, you have to go get it,” he says. “Nothing is going to be in your favor unless you work for it.”
Want to start a career in the food service industry? Applications are currently being accepted for the next class scheduled to start in Newark and Milford on Monday, February 13. Click here to learn more or to apply online!