The Ready to Work Academy at College of the Canyons celebrated the graduation of two of its specialized programs on Thursday — the Warehouse Logistics & Fulfillment and the Culinary (ICUE) classes successfully completed their courses, marking a significant milestone for the academy and its students.
Ready to Work started in 2020 through a partnership between College of the Canyons and Carousel Ranch with a goal of changing how postsecondary education for adults with special needs can be accomplished. This is done through vocational training in specific industries.
The graduation ceremony was held on the second floor of the Dianne G. Van Hook University Center and was filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment from the parents, staff, and, of course, the students.
“This is the fourth (cohort) and it’s been a long time in the works,” said Camryn Gelfo, program coordinator for Ready to Work. “We’re glad that it’s continuing and that we have more and more students coming through. Watching this class of past students and current students, it’s really great to watch them succeed.”
The Warehouse Logistics & Fulfillment program aimed to equip students with essential skills and knowledge in the logistics industry. Graduates gained hands-on experience in warehouse operations, inventory management and order fulfillment, and preparing them for employment.
The Culinary (ICUE) class — which was the program’s first graduating class — focused on students honing their cooking techniques, menu planning and food presentation abilities.
John Milburn, vice president of Workforce and Economic Advancement at COC, said students at the program’s on-the-job training have to put in the time and work. “They can’t just sit at the table and learn.”
“They have to actually show that they’ve learned and how well they can do it … so we’re really excited that they’ve proven themselves that they can do this, and we’re looking forward to the next step where they get jobs,” said Milburn.
Milburn also said the faces of the students and the pride of the parents in attendance was a priceless and irreplaceable gratification.
Ronaldo Medina, was there to support his sister, Precious — who said it was a lot of hard work, but that she was very proud of herself — and Ronaldo was proud of her too.
“I’m proud, man. Very proud of my sister. It takes a lot of little things and it takes a lot of steps to get to this point. So I’m just very, very proud,” said Ronaldo.
The following is a list of the graduates from Thursday’s ceremony: Surya Natarajan, Robert Reed, Dominic Twigg, Jess Rudy Ortiz, Natashia Zapata, Mathew Berrey, Precious Medina, Keelin Morse and Charles Stockwell.