Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program Host Its 4th Graduation Ceremony

The Ben D. Johnson Educational Center (BDJ Center) hosted its fourth graduation ceremony for students in the Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program. After receiving sixteen weeks of professional development, culinary training, and applicable life skills education, three graduates are closer to brighter future opportunities. Honorees are Torroneisha Bowers, Raven Phillips and Emilee Vaughn. These students started the program with several barriers to employment and were able to remove those barriers with the help of the BDJ Center staff.

These students are now trained in food service and customer care, they can budget their finances, manage their time, communicate, handle their affairs, set goals, plan for their future and go on to be self-sufficient members of our society. All they need are opportunities from employers in this community. If you are interested in placing one of their graduates, contact the BDJ Center.

The LYWD Program was created to combat the unfortunate circumstances that many young adults in Natchitoches Parish find themselves in. Nearly 47% of the population in Natchitoches lives below the poverty line, which compared to the national average of 13.1%, is shocking. The largest portion of those living in poverty in Natchitoches are those between the ages of 18-24, and these are the individuals the BDJ Center aim to transform in their workforce development training program.

JoAnna Cooper, the Executive Director of the Ben D. Johnson Educational Center said “we believe the LYWD Program is essential to the youth of Natchitoches and our community. We provide an option for young adults and we set them on the path towards a sustainable life, free of barriers. The Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program’s staff provide a safe place for young people to learn and to grow. We meet them where they are, then help to guide them where they need to be for success. Everyone deserves a chance.”

Student Emilee Vaughn stated “I’ve learned a lot from the Legacy Workforce Training Program. I received my ServSafe Certification and I’ve improved my communication skills. I would recommend the training to other youth who want a career in food service.”

If you know anyone who might benefit from the BDJ Center’s training program, learn more about their programs contact them via phone (318) 460-7460.


To report an issue or typo with this article – CLICK HERE