Chef Keeps Giving Back to the Community and Others with Disabilities

Michelle Jones photo

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Michelle Jones’ story is one of perseverance and inner strength. Michelle has a cognitive disorder as well as learning disabilities. As a single mom and sole provider for her family, she desired a career that would include her passion for cooking and also help others in similar circumstances.

Fortunately for Michelle, she learned about Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and how they help people with disabilities become employed. VR paid for Michelle’s tuition and books at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and management.

After graduation, Michelle found a job as an instructor at Atlantic Technical Center in Coconut Creek. She teaches Food Theory and is a certified ServeSafe instructor. She also owns a private catering business and has catered various chamber and charity events. An interesting side fact is that Michelle has several VR customers in her classes, and these students are benefitting from her experience and enthusiasm.

Michelle wanted to share her story to give the students she works with, as well as other people in need of VR services, “a sense of hope.” Her VR counselor, Michael Coard, knew that Michelle would be successful. “She was always very enthusiastic, and eager to learn and teach,” he says. Michelle feels that her experience with VR, “was very good overall.”

Not one to rest on her laurels, Michelle is currently pursuing a master’s degree in food science and working to launch her own food line. She loves to give back to her community and supports healthy eating habits, especially for our younger generation. She continues to inspire and challenge those around her to never give up and always work hard to achieve your dreams and goals in life.

Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation program is committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. Our employer-focused website,, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 80 offices across Florida, and last year helped 6,071 Floridians with significant disabilities find or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit