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Low-Income Philadelphians Graduate Philabundance Culinary Program

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Mayor Kenney and the staff at Philabundance cheered low-income Philadelphians graduating from a culinary arts training program to help them get jobs in commercial kitchens.

Philabundance Community Kitchen director Candace Matthews-Bass congratulated the 11 graduates for making it through the rigorous 14-week training program.

"Resonating 'yes, chef,' that comes out of their mouths, when they are given instructions," she said.

She labels them "passionate about changing their lives."

"This program is tough, because we are asking them to become something they weren't when they started," Matthews-Bass said.

Like an alumnus of the program, Rasheen Hill, who enrolled four years ago, about two-months after getting out of prison, according to Philabundance employment specialist, Jennifer Williams.

"He had limited work experience, and a five page criminal report when he joined us," said Williams.

Rasheen acknowledges that he had never held a job until he was 36. He landed a job at the Hard Rock Cafe, earning $10/hour.

"While at Hard Rock Cafe, I earned Employee of the Month seven times, and I earned Employee of the Year two times," said Hill.

Now he is lead line cook at Bryn Mawr Hospital, doubling his initial salary.

"My manager told me that he has five years to retire, and he wants me to take his place," Hill said.

More than 8-of-10 grads find food service industry jobs.

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