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Culinary Training Facility at State’s Largest Prison dedicated to memory of Delaware Restauranteur Matt Haley

Department of Correction | Former Governor Jack Markell (2009-2017) | Office of the Governor | Date Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2016



Follows Governor’s proposal passed in Fiscal Year 2016 budget

Smyrna, DE – Today Governor Markell, Department of Correction and Department of Education administrators and State Senator Bruce Ennis, Chair of the Senate’s Corrections Committee, joined family members of the late Delaware Restauranteur Matt Haley and representatives from SoDel Concepts, the restaurant group he founded, to dedicate the future site of the Matt Haley Culinary Arts Training Center at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC) in Smyrna. Markell sought the funding to convert an unused cafeteria dining building at the state’s largest prison into the training facility, which will feature a commercial-style restaurant kitchen and an attached classroom. Funding was appropriated by the General Assembly in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget and the project is currently in the design phase.

“For the men and women in our criminal justice system, having an in-demand skill is their ticket to a better life, and Matt Haley knew that better than anybody,” Governor Markell said. “Matt’s inspirational story of redemption, hard work, and selfless service inspired us to make the investment in our prison culinary training program. Naming this facility for him will ensure that generations of men who come through these walls are reminded of the impact of his life, experience support in learning a marketable skill, and feel empowered to forge new paths for their lives.”

Haley, who founded the Delaware restaurant group SoDel Concepts, was an early supporter of culinary training programs for Delaware offenders, and cited the culinary training he received during his own involvement in the criminal justice system as a contributing factor in his entrepreneurial success.

“Matt sought out opportunities to hire and support ex-offenders who were looking for a fresh start,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Robert Coupe. “He talked about how beneficial a culinary arts program was in his life and his transition back to the community, and he wanted to pay it forward by pledging his personal support to the culinary training programs at the DOC. I shared with him our vision for a culinary program at the James. T. Vaughn Correctional Center and after Matt received the James Beard Foundation Award he told me, ‘Let’s use this opportunity to find the money to make this vision a reality.’ Today, I’m proud to celebrate the milestone we’ve reached and grateful for the role that Matt played in getting us here.”

When renovations are complete, hands-on instruction will be provided to inmates by a Department of Education culinary instructor assigned to the prison. Classroom instruction to inmates is already underway on-site, and the first class of culinary students are preparing to complete their nationally-recognized ServSafe food certification, a prerequisite for employment in the field. Several of the inmate culinary students were on-hand for today’s dedication.

The Department of Correction’s expanding workforce development programs have been established as part of the Markell administration’s focus on reducing recidivism through a series of criminal justice reforms, including the expansion of reentry resources, better coordination among agencies to connect offenders to existing services, and the creation of skills training for offenders to better position them to secure and maintain employment when they return to the community. More information is available here.

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Culinary Training Facility at State’s Largest Prison dedicated to memory of Delaware Restauranteur Matt Haley

Department of Correction | Former Governor Jack Markell (2009-2017) | Office of the Governor | Date Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2016



Follows Governor’s proposal passed in Fiscal Year 2016 budget

Smyrna, DE – Today Governor Markell, Department of Correction and Department of Education administrators and State Senator Bruce Ennis, Chair of the Senate’s Corrections Committee, joined family members of the late Delaware Restauranteur Matt Haley and representatives from SoDel Concepts, the restaurant group he founded, to dedicate the future site of the Matt Haley Culinary Arts Training Center at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC) in Smyrna. Markell sought the funding to convert an unused cafeteria dining building at the state’s largest prison into the training facility, which will feature a commercial-style restaurant kitchen and an attached classroom. Funding was appropriated by the General Assembly in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget and the project is currently in the design phase.

“For the men and women in our criminal justice system, having an in-demand skill is their ticket to a better life, and Matt Haley knew that better than anybody,” Governor Markell said. “Matt’s inspirational story of redemption, hard work, and selfless service inspired us to make the investment in our prison culinary training program. Naming this facility for him will ensure that generations of men who come through these walls are reminded of the impact of his life, experience support in learning a marketable skill, and feel empowered to forge new paths for their lives.”

Haley, who founded the Delaware restaurant group SoDel Concepts, was an early supporter of culinary training programs for Delaware offenders, and cited the culinary training he received during his own involvement in the criminal justice system as a contributing factor in his entrepreneurial success.

“Matt sought out opportunities to hire and support ex-offenders who were looking for a fresh start,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Robert Coupe. “He talked about how beneficial a culinary arts program was in his life and his transition back to the community, and he wanted to pay it forward by pledging his personal support to the culinary training programs at the DOC. I shared with him our vision for a culinary program at the James. T. Vaughn Correctional Center and after Matt received the James Beard Foundation Award he told me, ‘Let’s use this opportunity to find the money to make this vision a reality.’ Today, I’m proud to celebrate the milestone we’ve reached and grateful for the role that Matt played in getting us here.”

When renovations are complete, hands-on instruction will be provided to inmates by a Department of Education culinary instructor assigned to the prison. Classroom instruction to inmates is already underway on-site, and the first class of culinary students are preparing to complete their nationally-recognized ServSafe food certification, a prerequisite for employment in the field. Several of the inmate culinary students were on-hand for today’s dedication.

The Department of Correction’s expanding workforce development programs have been established as part of the Markell administration’s focus on reducing recidivism through a series of criminal justice reforms, including the expansion of reentry resources, better coordination among agencies to connect offenders to existing services, and the creation of skills training for offenders to better position them to secure and maintain employment when they return to the community. More information is available here.

image_printPrint

Related Topics:  ,


Graphic that represents delaware news on a mobile phone

Keep up to date by receiving a daily digest email, around noon, of current news release posts from state agencies on news.delaware.gov.

Here you can subscribe to future news updates.