More than a job: Gateway grad follows passionpassion
College gave training to pave way for career of dreams
Cooking and culinary arts are more than just a job and career to Gateway Technical College graduate Mark Kleisner – it’s his passion.
Gateway helped him to enter and succeed in a career he’s passionate about through solid training, access to modern equipment and a recommendation strong enough to ensure he was hired for his first job after only a phone conversation with his current employer.
The employer knew of Gateway’s reputation as having a strong culinary arts program – and an employee on staff who trained at the college to reinforce that reputation.
“My boss was looking to fill a position, and one of the staff earned her Culinary Arts degree at Gateway,” says Mark. “She recommended Gateway and the boss called Gateway and asked my instructor if she knew of a graduate who was passionate about the career field and was seeking a job.
“She recommended me, then gave them my contact information. They called me, I did a quick interview on the phone, and they fast-tracked me – I was working there within two weeks. My supervisor knew Gateway had a solid program, simple as that. No interview, just the phone conversation and emailing them my resume.”
The Culinary Arts associate degree graduate says Gateway indeed prepared him well for the career field, providing him with the skills to become a skilled chef.
“I received a lot of real-world experience – not just book work – but also how to succeed every day in my career,” he says. “They gave me the skills to deal with problems as they arise, how to deal with customers, and operating a restaurant.”
Mark says the new equipment students train on in the Racine Campus kitchen helped him transition to his new career as a corporate catering assistant. “A lot of food preparation at Gateway is from scratch, which is a good skill to have,” says Mark.
Mark also points out that Gateway instructors went the extra mile to work with him and encouraged him to engage in other learning opportunities and career-related events.
“That training has given me an edge in my career,” he says. “The degree is more than just a piece of paper – it’s proof that I received great training and achieved every goal set before me. It shows my employer that I am willing to work to achieve my personal goals, as well as the goal of the company.
“The degree proves what you are here for – this is what you are meant to be doing. Gateway helped me to achieve that.”
Mark has continued to move up the corporate ladder. After preparing in-flight meals for corporate executives on company flights, he now a large company kitchen-cafeteria as a first chef.