Catholic Multicultural Center program breaks employment barriers, teaching culinary arts

Published: Aug. 12, 2019 at 6:56 PM CDT
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The Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC) in Madison is breaking employment barriers by providing culinary arts training and creating a recipe for change.

A former participant, Joseph Crenshaw, said the program changed his life.

Crenshaw came from the inner city of Chicago and made his way to Madison --searching for a second chance.

"Change is hard, but you can do it," Crenshaw said.

He stumbled upon a free program, Culinary Creations Catering. It gives a fresh start to people battling barriers to employment. It offers training in food safety and paid hands-on practice.

Crenshaw aced the program then chose to stick around to motivate and inspire.

"It’s something I was proud of doing and was inspired to do to use myself as a teaching tool,” he said.

But he told me life wasn’t always so sweet.

Crenshaw said he served 9 years in prison and wanted to put his life back on track. He climbed the ladder and became Culinary Creations Catering’s head chef and assistant manager and

sprinkled positivity and motivation in every way he could.

"If I could help that individual and reach an individual in some way, that's where my joy comes from. It's not about me. It's about them," Crenshaw said.

He said the journey wasn't easy, but the best thing someone can do is just ask for a chance.

"Everyone’s not going to say no. Everyone's not going to close the door. If you're determined to change your life. That's exactly what's going to happen," he said.

Multicultural center officials said the program is growing and their main goal is to make a difference one person at a time.

"They are wonderful, great people that just never had that opportunity," Andy Russel, Catholic Multicultural Center Director said.

He explained they never had the opportunity to start over and get another chance at life.

"Very very emotional when you talk about the truth of life because life is precious," Crenshaw said.

There will be another culinary arts class in September. Contact the Catholic Multicultural Center to apply.