PHOENIX - An Arizona program is helping teens interested in the culinary industry sharpen their skills before they hit the job market.

The 10-week Careers Through Culinary Arts Program is aimed to equip participants with entry-level skills to obtain culinary employment in the future.

Chefs coach students on everything from knife technique, meal planning, and hosting etiquette.

“When kids join the C-CAP, I think they are most surprised by the intensity of the food industry but excited to meet all the chefs and the passion chefs have for this industry,” said chef instructor and
C-CAP alum Nicole Swartz.

The summer job training program is designed to provide high school students with important job skills for real-life work experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

“For some kids, it’s like speaking a foreign language. We have to really break it down to the basics for them,” said Billy Sims, the chef and owner of 9 Degrees North Catering.

Sims got involved with C-CAP a year ago and donated the location.

“I realized that all the positive things the C-CAP program was doing for the community," he said. "I felt that I had the space to provide and it made good sense. There’s just such an upside to this community-wise.”

C-CAP just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

“It’s pretty cool to see chefs come full-circle,” said Swartz. “We have quite a few alumni in Arizona that are now restaurants owners and they’ve come back to mentor and hire some of the C-CAP students.”

“We’re not just teaching cooking skills, we’re teaching them life skills even if they don’t stay in the culinary field,” said Sims.

The nonprofit has seven schools nationwide and offers scholarships to students in need.

Its next annual event is the 2017 Annual Harvest Moon in November.

To learn more, head to C-CAP's website.