JOLIET – It was all about the dough when U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, arrived at the Joliet Job Corps Center on Mills Road Aug. 10.
Under direction of Chef Nicolas Daloia, culinary arts students prepared a breakfast buffet for guests who includes State Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi, D-Joliet; County Executive Larry Walsh; Rodney Butler of Adams & Associates, contractor for the Joliet center; and Donna Kay and Soo Jon from the Chicago office of Job Corps Region 5.
Fresh basil from the center’s organic garden was used in the quiche, and the stuffed French toast was, as one coordinator put it, “to die for.”
Durbin spoke privately to Daloia about the value of community colleges over private schools in further training future chefs.
He also publicly cautioned students not to believe in “I’m going to college in my pajamas” ads because they are often misleading. Pell Grants, he explained, are loans, not a gift, and payments that sound so easy will plague many students for their entire lives.
The center was also able to show off its new paved roads and parking lots, two wind turbines and three electric carts, all paid for through ARRA funding.
Durbin learned about how Joliet Job Corps is rated No. 3 out of 122 Job Corps nationwide because of how the students perform on center and after they graduate. Measured are increases in math and reading scores, completion rates for high school or GED, achievement rates of vocation certificates and enrolling in college, Advanced Training or entering the job market or military after graduation. Students are tracked to see if they’ve kept that job six months and a year after leaving. For more information, go to www.joliet.jobcorps.gov