An individual uses hands-on opportunity to build skills.

Brandon wanted hands-on learning opportunities outside of high school classes when he connected with the WorkSmart Network and enrolled in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) youth programming in August 2016.

“It was a pathway for me to basically get out of high school because I wasn’t very successful in there and the environment.”

Brandon graduated from the Middle College culinary cohort in May 2017 and decided to continue his education in the culinary program at Madison College.

Throughout his final year of college, Brandon worked with his WIOA Career Planner to prepare for the workforce with services like job search assistance and financial literacy workshops. He also participated in industry tours to learn about the culinary careers available at various local companies.

“I always went to [my WIOA Career Planner] during the last year [and they] really helped me with my interview [and] my introduction letter for it. Whenever I needed help [they] were always there when I had questions.”

Brandon graduated college in 2021 and obtained full-time employment in Madison Metropolitan School District’s culinary department working in catering.

“I really wanted to use the culinary field to boost myself up because my main goal is to help kids who can’t feed themselves […] So when I become a teacher, I can create an afternoon club to teach basic stuff, like how to make rice.”

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