Eight graduates end 2022 with new careers

December 1, 2022

There’s no better way to end 2022 than with a brand-new career!

For eight students participating in the Food Bank of Delaware’s L.O.G.I.C. (Logistics, Operations, General Warehousing and Inventory Control) program, a brand-new career awaits. The students’ accomplishments were celebrated this morning during a graduation ceremony. These students make up the 14th graduating class of the L.O.G.I.C. program at the Food Bank.

The graduates are:

  • Michael Bartecki
  • Karen Funk
  • Jaleel Hairston
  • Michael Josè
  • Richard Lambert
  • Daquan Nesmith
  • James Reed
  • Devin Washington

These graduates started in September and spent the past 11 weeks learning the ins and outs of the warehousing/logistics industry. They all had the opportunity to earn four certifications – Certified Logistics Associate, Certified Logistics Technician, OSHA-10 and forklift.

Under the instruction of Operations Instructor Joe Cunha, the class learned how to safely maneuver and operate warehouse equipment like fork lifts, pallet jacks, end riders and more. Because there is so much to learn, Cunha announced during graduation that the next class will be extended from 11 to 14 weeks.

Linda Parkowski, Executive Director of Kent County Economic Partnership provided keynote remarks.

“You have been afforded a wonderful opportunity by the Food Bank,” said Parkowski. “They are training the workforce that is needed today, but they are also training the workforce that is needed tomorrow.”

Parkowski pointed out that here in Delaware there are currently 242 open jobs for forklift operators, 289 openings for warehouse jobs and 282 openings for logistics jobs. The opportunities for L.O.G.I.C. graduates are endless she said.

Many of the graduates have already landed jobs and others are actively interviewing.

Michael Josè was proud to announce that he is a Senior Material Handler at Goodwill Recyling. He thanked the team at Sojourners’ Place, a shelter in Wilmington that helps residents on the path to self-sufficency. Three of the graduates are currently living there.  Without the facility and its director, Robyn Beck-Gott, Michael admits that they “might still be living on the streets.”

Fellow Sojourners Place resident and graduate Richard Lambert is grateful for the program. He learned about it through a flyer at Social Services.

“It’s been quite a journey for me,” he said. “I found myself homeless. My mom suggested Sojourners’ Place and they took me. It’s just a wonderful place. I was really at the bottom of the barrel. For awhile I was lost… I haven’t felt this good in so long.”

The students’ training was well-rounded with the addition of life skills taught by Workforce Program Coordinator Samuel Dixon. Dixon worked with the students on skills like communication, resume writing, interviewing, nutrition and more.

“The Food Bank is all about second chances,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Cathy Kanefsky. “I don’t think any one of us know what tomorrow is going to bring. But tomorrow can be hopeful or tomorrow can be scary or depressing, and you chose hopeful and I’m so glad you did.”

Graduates have gained employment at places like Goodwill Recycling, AMS Industries and the Food Bank of Delaware. Graduate James Reed was offered a position at the Food Bank of Delaware as a Warehouse Associate.

The training program would not be possible without the support of generous sponsors.

Thank you to:

  • Barclays
  • Capital One
  • Chase
  • Comenity
  • Delaware Department of Labor
  • Discover
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • DuPont
  • Highmark Delaware
  • TD Bank
  • Wells Fargo

The next 11-week L.O.G.I.C. training program at the Food Bank of Delaware in Newark begins on Tuesday, January 17, and applications for the free program are currently being accepted. Click here to learn more.

Congratulations to the graduates! (Not pictured: Michael Bartecki and Karen Funk)

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