Ten welfare-to-work public housing residents graduated Thursday as cooks from a food service program with job offers as paid trainees in two hospitals.
The graduation ceremony took place at East Los Angeles Community College, where the students underwent 60 hours of course work and prepared meals on a daily basis for up to 1,200 students.
"The training program gives students an edge", said Keisha Fykes, employment and training coordinator for the Community Development Commission and the Housing Authority of Los Angeles County.
Created by the two agencies and East Los Angeles College, the program helps low-income residents build vocational skills and find employment.
The trainees can be groomed for management-level positions because they have been trained according to National Restaurant Assn. standards, said Fykes.
The graduates range in age from 18 to 40. They come from such diverse public housing communities as Nueva Maravilla in East Los Angeles, Carmelitos, in Long Beach, Ujima Village in South Los Angeles and facilities in South-Central Los Angeles.