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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Guilford Technical Community College graduated the first group of students in its POWER Pathways Program.

POWER Pathways gives adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities an opportunity to learn employment skills.

This semester focused on the food service industry.

“It’s always been a dream for me to cook for people,” student Maya Culbreth said.

“I wanted to learn how to cook and prepare food,” student Codi Farmer said.

POWER Pathways launched in February.

During the Greensboro graduation ceremony, students received a diploma for completing the reading, writing and math portion of the program.

Each student in the Greensboro class passed the ServSafe Food Handler certification exam and received a certificate.

Instead of wearing a cap and gown, the students wore chef jackets that had their names on them.

“I pushed the school to get those chef jackets because I wanted to give them something special to walk away with. I wanted them to feel like chefs and feel like they have definitely made their mark in the food industry,” lead POWER Pathways instructor Natasha Ford said.

As part of the ceremony, students served family, friends and other guests a lunch they prepared.

GTCC plans to offer the food service POWER Pathways program in the upcoming fall semester.

The application process is open.

The deadline to apply is July 12.