Woman posing with her work badge

Consider it an introduction to the professional culinary world. ChefStart is a class that helps the home cook get professional accreditation needed to run a commercial kitchen.

After taking the six-week ChefStart class, Jasmine Upshaw was marketable. Because she was so qualified, Jasmine earned a highly competitive culinary apprenticeship offered by one of the largest health care systems in the state.

As a culinary apprentice with Aurora’s St. Luke’s hospital, Jasmine is now beginning a career in the food services and nutrition industry. Over the next three years, Jasmine will work as a cook and increase her skills in all aspects of her field.

The best part? Jasmine’s work is now her passion. That wasn’t always the case.

As a young mom, Upshaw put her culinary school dream on hold. The schedule interfered with family time. Other jobs paid more money. As a single mom, Jasmine stayed in jobs she didn’t like in order to pay the bills.

One day a friend told Jasmine about ChefStart. The class offered the flexibility and support Jasmine needed to begin work she loved.

“It was a jump start for my career and it changed my life,” Jasmine says. “It means I can think about what I want and not just what I have to do for my kids,” Jasmine adds.

ChefStart is one of SDC’s most popular programs. It’s more than just a class. ChefStart empowers people with new knowledge. And ultimately, it puts them on the path to success that’s right for them.

And Jasmine’s story gets even better. ChefStart helped her launch the career of her dreams. But now that dream job is going to pay her to go to college.

We see this often. The first steps toward success starts with SDC.

Learn more about SDC’s impact by reading the 2020 Annual Report.

Learn more about the ChefStart program.

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