Inmates graduate from Culinary Arts training program ahead of release

More than a dozen inmates graduated from a culinary program designed to teach the recipe for success.

The program is designed to give inmates a leg up when they are released from jail, and is made possible with nonprofit partnerships and federal grants.

"Coming out of here sometimes you are looked at as an outcast or someone who doesn't deserve a second chance," said Chef James Spence, from Operation Able.

Inmates serving time at the Ryan Corrections Facility in Detroit have spent the last four weeks studying food service industry.
"When they get out they can work right away and one thing we know is restaurants tend to be friendly to those with a record," said Mary McDougall, the Executive Director Operation Able of Michigan.

The skills they are learning are in high demand.

"When I heard about culinary arts I thought it was something that could build my career and get me a good paying job," said Mark Logan, an inmate training in culinary arts.

The mayor’s office says of the 161 prisons who took part in the job placement program 25 are in food service and seven of those currently have full time jobs.

"We are going to keep opening restaurants in Detroit we need workers, chefs, and so I heard I wanted to come by and let them know opportunities out there if they stick with it," said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Once the inmates are done with four week program, they have the option of continuing their education at Operation Able in midtown where they can be placed in a job. Operation Able is always looking to partner with business owners looking for skilled laborers.