By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A building to house a culinary training program will soon rise in an economically troubled portion of Baltimore.

Paul’s Place, a non-profit organization that started out helping the homeless, is expanding into training people for life-long careers.

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Wednesday, the group broke ground on a new building on Washington Boulevard and Cross Street in Baltimore’s Pigtown neighborhood.

Their mission: feeding and helping the homeless.

Its kitchen is run by Chef Raheem Ajay, who left a dead-end job to train to be a chef.

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“It changed me from having a job into a career,” Ajay said.

On what used to be an empty lot, a $12 million transformation is taking place. Classes will be taught to train people on how to have a career in the restaurant industry.

“This type of program transforms lives,” said Bill McLennan, the executive director of Paul’s Place.

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The restaurant and commercial kitchen should open in 15 months.