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CJT Graduate and Cafe Lead Mykel T. Is Committed to Growth

Mykel T. is interested in growth. His peers nominated him to represent Culinary Job Training (CJT) Class 125 at graduation last summer, but he spent graduation day at the hospital welcoming a new baby girl. As a father and a hard worker, Mykel is always looking for the opportunity to pursue new avenues for success. His CJT experience has inspired him to “keep moving forward in the organization, so I can one day work on the administrative side of the business.”

Four months ago, Mykel joined DCCK as a respected, valued colleague at our second social enterprise cafe, Marianne’s. This week, he was promoted to Cafe Lead.

“I’m so proud of him,” says DCCK Director of Cafes and Retail Sales Shay McCray, “When I first met Mykel, there was something about him that stood out. I saw a lot of leadership skills there, and I told him that it doesn’t matter if you have been with the organization for six months or one year or five years, when you show me that you want to grow and you have that tenacity to work hard, then you will move up.”

With Mykel’s work ethic and exceptional people skills, we are sure he will continue to develop his professional goals and grow as a leader within DCCK. Read below for Mykel’s main takeaways from our self-empowerment class, his thoughts on how our DCCK set him up for success, and his advice to anyone on the fence about applying to the CJT program.

What did you learn about yourself during the Culinary Job Training program?

I was able to learn a lot about myself during the self-empowerment classes. Although, my main takeaway is that everyone is vulnerable. Even the strongest people and the hardest workers need to take breaks and smell the flowers.

How did you feel about the self-empowerment portion? What specific lessons from Mr. Jeff [Workforce Development Specialist, Case Manager] that have particularly stayed with you?

I felt like it was good thing overall. It made me look a little deeper into potential problems with my approach to both work and personal situations. It’s always good to pay attention to possible problems. We had a lot of conversations, but the main thing I took away from Mr. Jeff is the value of hard work and consistency. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you went through beforehand, as long as you stay consistent and work hard, you can achieve anything. You just have to have faith.

How did CJT prepare you for your current career at the cafe?

The Culinary Job Training program put me in a position to know what to do physically in this job. The cooking is one thing, but the customer service and the ability to communicate with different kinds of people is another factor. That’s something CJT focuses on, and I think these lessons are good learning tools.

What are you excited about for the future? What are your plans?

I’m looking for growth within the company. What made me want to come back to the organization is I saw the opportunity for growth. I saw that you didn’t necessarily need a college degree to excel in the organization. If you put your best foot forward and you put the work in, you can achieve anything you want.

Finally, what would you tell someone who is considering applying for the CJT program but is on the fence? What advice would you give that person?

I would say, do it, stay focused, and make sure you accomplish what you need to do. A lot of people come into the program not knowing what they want out of it, but if you stay focused and figure out what you want, you can succeed. If you don’t have the mindset to work in the first place, then it’s not going to work for you. You have to want to work and grow. You have to want to go through the process.