Ra’Niece Taylor-Benton is a proud 2017 graduate of Western Hills University High School, and an alum of CYC’s Jobs for Cincinnati Graduates (JCG), a CYC Work Readiness program. Ra’Niece was selected by her JCG Career Specialist at Western Hills University High School, Victoria Perkins, to participate in JCG’s Summer Work Experience Opportunity Program (SWEO).

The JCG SWEO Program is an 8-week hands-on internship program designed to help increase career awareness and position the youth to make better career choices. Ra’Niece’s ambition is to become a pastry chef, and the SWEO Program helped to foster that passion and expand her knowledge even more through an 8-week internship with Cincinnati Cooks. She has gained valuable skills and knowledge that will last her a life time; she has learned the mechanics of a commercial kitchen, food safety, food inventory and storage, basic nutrition and knife skills. She has also gained valuable professional and life skills that she can apply throughout her life.

Ra’Niece’s passion, dedication, perseverance and support system of family, friends, and mentors can be attributed to her success. Upon graduation from the Cincinnati Cooks Program, Ra’Niece was one of three students to receive an award for perfect attendance, and was one of five students presented with a chef’s knife set for meeting the employment criteria. She also passed her ServSafe Manager Certification, which is good for five years.

Ra’Niece helped prepare meals for the KIDS Café program which serves CPS and Covington after school programs, helping to feed over 14,000 children! She is also eligible to apply for the Cooks Course 2 8-week program which is focused on technique and full-service special events. After completion of Course 2, Ra’Niece would be eligible for 33 credit hours towards the Cincinnati State and Technical Community College Culinary Arts Program. This is a huge opportunity says her Cincinnati Cooks Career Counselor, Sarah Veness, who has consistently encouraged her to take advantage of this course before signing up for next year’s classes. Ra’Niece is currently a freshman at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in the Culinary Arts Program and on her way to making her dreams come true!

Alicia N. Porter – Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, Jobs for Cincinnati Graduates Program