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The Kitchen of Champions cooks it up

Harley DeCent preps beef patties for the grill.

Over the last three years the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Oakland has developed a program, part academy and part job placement workshop, where standout individuals dealing with various levels of distress such as prison re-entry and homelessness metamorph into lean mean cooking machines.

In twelve weeks this program covers 400 instruction hours and carries out 30 tests. On average 76 percent of Kitchen of Champions graduates find work after the program.

Lonnie, a recent grad, Chef Michael Stamm, and Brett Forman talk about the Kitchen of Champions in this segment.


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Recycling workers feel the strain

Recycling Bins at a recycling station. Photo by ThreadedThoughts, flickr, Creative Commons license

What is it like to work the recycling assembly line? At Waste Management’s Davis Street Recycling Center located near the Oakland Airport, roughly 80 workers sort through 3,000 tons of  waste per day. This includes smelly food scraps, aluminum, paper, and glass, which provide Oakland with valuable export commodities.

Isabel, an Oakland recycling center employee talks about her job and union contract with Waste Management, the nation’s largest waste services provider.  She and fellow co-workers are beginning to feel the pressure and strain as their contract expires later this month. She asks that Bay Area residents support center employees in organizing for better wages. To lend support, contact Oakland city council members and express support for recycling workers: OAKLANDNET.COM/GOVERNMENT/COUNCIL/CITY-OFFICIALS

Street level recycling bins. Photo by Tim-Tak, Flickr, Creative Commons license