He Couldn’t Afford College, But Now He’s Cooking Up a Storm Thanks to Job Corps

Ahmad Mitchell whips up an appetizer at the Philadelphia Job Corps Life Science Institute. Culinary arts is one of the programs offered at this center. His fervor for food goes much deeper than his taste buds.

“I’ve always had a passion for food,” he explains. “When I make food and people appreciate it, it makes me feel like…it’s a way for me to express myself. It really helps my confidence when people say I make great food.”

He did well in high school but knew he needed more education to secure a solid future.

“I wanted to go to college. I wanted to get an advanced degree.”

The only problem…money.

“I was looking at 40,000 for an associate’s degree. And Job Corps offered me so many alternatives to that; they gave me training on life skills, ServeSafe certifications, experience in the culinary field, knowledge, things that are so essential to starting in the culinary field.”

And his dream of attending college is now a reality thanks to a partnership between Philadelphia Job Corps and the Community College of Philadelphia. Ahmad is earning his associate’s degree in culinary arts from the college.

“The cost of education is so expensive. A free alternative is invaluable…I’m very grateful to Job Corps. My dream job is, I want to work on a cruise ship. I want to travel the world and learn about different cuisines. See what food means to other people around the world; and learn and hone my craft.”

And then he wants to return to his home here in Philadelphia to make a difference.

“I want to open my own restaurant and enrich Philadelphia. I really love this city, and I love it, not for what it is necessarily but what it can be.”