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 February 3rd, 2011  
11 St. Lucie County jail inmates graduate from In2Work culinary arts program that partners St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office and ARAMARK, the jailís food service provider.
Eleven St. Lucie County jail inmates have graduated from the In2Work culinary arts apprenticeship program, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

"This unique program is a partnership of the Sheriff's Office, and ARAMARK (the jail's food service provider) Sheriff Mascara said."Our goal is to help jail inmates learn important job skills they can put to use when they leave the jail. If they become productive, job-holding members of the community, this increases the likelihood they will not return to jail."

In January, the eleven graduating students enrolled in the Indian River State College Culinary Operations Apprenticeship program.  The course is taught by Ron Harris of ARAMARK, who is an IRSC-certified adjunct instructor.  When these inmates are released from jail, they can continue their apprenticeship program through IRSC or any state college that teaches the culinary arts apprenticeship curriculum.

After completing the course work, along with a 40-hour-a-week culinary job,the student can receive a culinary arts apprenticeship certificate from the college. Students who want to continue their education can also enroll in a degree program at the college.

In November 2007 the In2Work culinary program began at the St. Lucie County jail to help inmates have a better chance at job opportunities when they were released from jail.

The  idea worked.

A total of 328 jail inmates have graduated from the program, and only 14 of those have returned to jail.

In August, IRSC, ARAMARK and the Sheriff's Office expanded the In2Work apprenticeship program to make it part of the IRSC curriculum, turning the jail's kitchen into a college classroom.

The first course, which Harris teaches at the jail, was an introduction to food service.

Caption for photo: Eleven St. Lucie County jail inmats completed the In2Work culinary program at the jail. Far left: Ron Harris, of ARAMARK, St. Lucie County Jail Food Service Director. Far right: Terrell Mongo, of ARAMARK, General Manager at the St. Lucie County Jail. * * *

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