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June 20, 2024

JCCC’s Hospitality Management program launches exciting careers

Diane Mora was told by school counselors she’d never go to college. Little did she know when she enrolled in hospitality management as a nontraditional JCCC student in her 20s, she’d lead the College’s culinary team to its first national championship.

Focused success

Her leadership of JCCC’s 1997 culinary team blazed the trail for many more American Culinary Federation championships in subsequent years. While she was at JCCC, Diane eventually won more than 20 individual and team culinary awards, including 2001 Chef of the Year from the Greater Kansas City Chef’s Association.

"In my early teens, I was told I’d never go to college. But while completing my degree in hospitality management, I also led JCCC’s culinary team to its first national ACF win! Now my career is helping thousands of high school students learn culinary skills while feeding families across two states." ~ Diane Mora, JCCC alum and Kids Feeding Kids Program and Education Director

She credits much of her success to strong mentors who encouraged and challenged her every step of the way. Diane says, “Because of Chef John Joyce (former culinary professor) and JCCC, I realized I could be successful at anything I put my mind to.”

Diane went on to get an associate degree in hospitality management, a bachelor’s in business management, and multiple master’s degrees in social justice and education. She has experienced success as owner of a catering business; as a teacher for Johnson County Adult Education (JCAE), a JCCC partner, for 10 years; and as a high school teacher, during which time she was named Kansas City Public Schools 2019 District Teacher of the Year. One of her many volunteer experiences included Pete’s Garden, a nonprofit that gathers leftover food from area chefs to distribute to food insecure families.

Several years ago, all of her knowledge, education, and experience came together when she was hired as program and education director for Kids Feeding Kids, a Pete’s Garden program. In this role, she teaches high school culinary students about food insecurity and the importance of family mealtime while providing ingredients for students to prepare free take-home meals for families in their community. During the most recent school year, students in the program created nearly 10,000 servings for families in need.

Says Diane, “Every time I work with high school students, I share the initial challenges I faced as a first-generation college graduate, finding my way to a college experience that fit my learning style. I also share the successes I eventually experienced at JCCC and beyond.”

Diane says she often gets asked by high school students about going to culinary school. “I always tell them about JCCC,” she says. “It’s a fraction of the cost of other schools in the field, but is probably one of the top five recognized schools in the industry. It’s a great program!”

Ready to get cooking?

Take a look at JCCC’s Hospitality Management program, which prepares you for careers in tourism, culinary arts, lodging, and food and beverage. The degrees and courses will help you develop a diverse skill set through hands-on learning and professional experiences. 

JCCC offers small class sizes, low tuition rates and helpful resources like FREE tutoring and a support team.

Apply today!