Atlantic Cape Community College will offer its five-month Culinary Arts Training Program at the Cape May Court House campus for the first time starting in January.
A new degree program in baking and pastry at the Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing will also be offered next year, college officials said Wednesday.
The goal of the 450-hour culinary arts training program is to train 16 residents for jobs in local restaurants in time for summer 2013.
“We want to train people for jobs that are available,” said Kelly McClay, dean of the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape. “We believe the job placement should be high.”
McClay said a 2010 state law requires commercial kitchens to have at least one employee with National Restaurant Association Food Service and Sanitation certification. The course prepares students to take that test. Students learn required sanitation regulations as well as basic culinary skills.
Students will attend class from about 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Patricia Gentile, dean of the Cape May Court House campus, said the program will make use of the kitchen and cafeteria area at the campus, which are not being used. The campus currently offers kiosk food service provided by Cape May Court House Pizza.
“We have to bring in some equipment, but everything else the students need is already here,” Gentile said.
The cost of the course is about $4,900, but applicants who are unemployed may be eligible to have the cost paid through the state Department of Labor job training program. Gentile said the school will also see whether local businesses might be willing to help subsidize the cost for an employee so that person can get the certification.
Gentile said the program also brings more students to the Cape May County campus, which has lost enrollment as the population of the county has dwindled and aged. Gentile presented a report at the Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday showing that while the percentage of high school graduates in the county who attend the college has increased every year since it opened in 2005, the total number of graduates is decreasing.
She said the college has also been an asset to the community in providing job training, with more than 5,700 people receiving training of some kind since the campus opened. The average age of those in a continuing education program is 47, compared to full-time degree students who tend to be in the 18-24 age group.
Students who complete the culinary training course can also receive credits toward a degree if they enroll in the Academy of Culinary Arts degree program in Mays Landing.
McClay said the new pastry degree is in response to student demand. The college currently offers pastry and baking as a specialty option within the culinary degree. That program currently has 71 students who have expressed interest in additional training. The degree program will allow the academy to replace five general culinary courses with baking specialty courses that will include retail baking operations, production baking for a large commercial kitchen and a pastry course in classic European desserts.
“It’s a large and growing program, and many students are interested in the retail side of it,” McClay said.
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