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We take a look at J-TEDs, or Joint Technical Education Districts, programs that provide high school students with a chance to learn skills like cosmetology or the culinary arts, by taking you to a culinary arts school for high school students.

Ted Simons: J-Teds provide high school students to learn real-world skills. Shana Fischer introduces us to a culinary arts program that's dishing up a recipe for success.

Video: I want to do the sauerkraut.

Shana Fischer: While most of her classmates are sleeping in, Abril Rodriguez spends her Saturday morning hard at work.

Abril Rodriguez: I like school so I want to continue learning, not just hands-on culinary, I wanted to do both. I was looking into the careers with culinary and science and math.

Shana Fischer: Abril is a part of C-CAP or careers through culinary arts program. C-CAP is a nationwide non-profit that works in conjunction with high school culinary programs.

Nicole Swartz: We work with juniors and seniors in high school. We are a job development program. We work with placing high school students into post-secondary schools. We award scholarships.

Shana Fischer: Today Abril and five other C-CAP students are manning the booth. Customers who have bought produce at the market can bring it to the booth where the students clean it up and cut it up any way they wish for free.

Nicole Swartz: Veggie valet is a paid internship for the students. This gives them the basic foundation to get into this industry. Beyond the knife skills, we focus on the basics of getting a job. You need to show up on time. You need to understand that when a schedule is posted, you need to be there.

Shana Fischer: As a C-CAP graduate herself, she knows how beneficial the program can be.

Nicole Swartz: I was the typical senior who had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated and this program actually really helped me find my way. So, it was a lot of fun.

Shana Fischer: Chef Swartz spent time in restaurants before deciding to teach full-time.

Sacha Levine: It came in frozen.

Shana Fischer: Sacha Levine is also a C-CAP graduate. After cooking in top-tier restaurants in the valley, she opened her on place. She grew up in bull-head city, not necessarily known for its food but her mom always made sure good food was on the table. She was a good student, but had no idea what she wanted to do for a living. She credits C-CAP for helping her get on a path to success.

Sacha Levine: In hindsight, I had no idea. As a young person, it's hard to wrap your head around, oh, my gosh; this is the rest of my life. This industry can be very grueling, if you let it be. It taught me to push myself. It was almost like a support system in the fact that, like, I had people helping me, like, propel me into my future.

Shana Fischer: Chef Levine has also mentored C-CAP students and says the program provides opportunities that are vocationally meaningful.

Sacha Levine: Those kids are there helping out and such a young age, they are able to interact with fantastic chefs and being able to see things hands-on is such a good -- accelerator.

Shana Fischer: C-CAP is providing something else, a pipeline of necessary talent into Arizona's workforce. Kim Sabow is the president of the lodging and tourism association. They want to advocate for the hospitality.

Kim Sabow: It was over $20 billion in direct visitor spending. As far as jobs go, it is one of the leading economic engines for the state employing 320,000 people.

Shana Fischer: There's a high turnover rate in this industry. She believes programs like C-CAP can help alleviate that.

Kim Sabow: The opportunities are endless. They're varied and they're vast. Again, we need to be focusing on constantly filling that pipeline of talent that will provide the workforce moving forward.

Shana Fischer: Meanwhile, Abril is getting ready to graduate high school. She did want to be a neurosurgeon but she's combining the two fields. She participated in C-CAP's cooking competition and won a scholarship. She wants to study food science, how food affects the brain.

Abril Rodriguez: Do something that you enjoy and if you know that you're going to in enjoy it, do it instead of waking up going, oh, I have to go to work.

Ted Simons: C-CAP Arizona awarded $500,000 in scholarships. For more information, visit ccapinc.org

Ted Simons: Thursday on "Arizona Horizon," we continue our look on the upcoming political convention and we'll hear from Tempe's new arts director. That's on the next "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons, thanks so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Video: "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions by the friends of Arizona pbs, members of your pbs station. Thank you.

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