"Everything started for me here at FareStart."

August 26, 2019

Joel couldn’t keep a smile off his face as he started talking about his experience at FareStart. He graduated in February of 2019 and has been working ever since.

“I heard about this program from my school,” he said. “I heard that I can learn how to cook, and I love cooking. And to get paid for it? That’s even better.”

Joel was a student at the Seattle Public School’s Interagency Academy, which provides educational opportunities for students who may have significant barriers. FareStart partners with the school for our Youth Culinary Program. Joel took every lesson he could from the program.

“Everything started for me here,” he said. “There was real bonding even with kids from different schools. I took all the lessons that I learned here and used them for my resume. During my job interview at the airport, I talked about FareStart and even though they had never heard about the program, they saw my passion.”

Joel landed a job at an airport restaurant, and the skills he learned in the program are propelling him forward.

“I really love my job right now,” he said. “I even got like a promotion and a raise. I didn’t even know about it. I just saw it in my paycheck one day and was like ‘whoa!’ I used to just be cooking on the line, but now I’m expediting and even cashiering now. I do everything now.”

It wasn’t always this good for Joel.

“My living situation before was just really bad,” he said. “I lived with roommates, and they would steal from me and do all sorts of things. I lost a lot of trust in people. I’m still working on that.”

The first thing Joel did when he got his first paycheck was look for a better housing situation.

After he moved out, he could breathe again. He’s also making plans.

“This program got me ready for a professional environment,” he said. “I want to go back to school. I want to go get my AA from community college and go into software development. I really want to work for Amazon or Microsoft. It helped me get a job I like and I’m going to be in software. It’s good right now.”