CMC Culinary Institute in Summit County selected for apprenticeship study
Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute in Summit County has been selected as one of only four culinary programs in the country to participate in a U.S. Department of Labor grant-funded study aiming to modernize the national apprenticeship system.
The selection of Colorado Mountain College, in addition to colleges in Pennsylvania, Florida and Kansas, is an indicator of the solid standing the program has earned across the country, said Kevin Clarke, culinary institute director.
“I think it is in recognition of how progressive our culinary programs are here at Colorado Mountain College and in recognition of our dedication to the apprenticeship process and trying to make it better,” Clarke said. “It’s because of the reputation of the program and the changes we have instituted with our program, a lot of which are now being folded into the national apprenticeship.”
The college was selected as a pilot site last fall, and implementation of the federally funded study began in May, said Kristy Begley, director of education at the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation, which is overseeing the program.
The ACFEF received $481,200 in funding in August 2009 for the two-year study to bring its culinary apprenticeship program into the 21st century.
Clarke said the study will result in a new online tracking system for culinary apprenticeships. Instead of using the current bulky paper log book, students will be able to track their progress in completing up to 400 culinary skills through their own page on a Web portal. When graduates interview for a job, in addition to having taken common cooking tests, they will be able to show an electronic portfolio of documented skills.
The apprenticeship study also is intended to foster innovations in culinary programs, Clarke said. He and colleague Todd Rymer, the director of the Culinary Institute at the college’s campus in Edwards, have been proactive in updating the college’s program to help modernize the ACFEF national apprenticeship program. The CMC program has incorporated sustainability and environmental awareness and has focused on the accomplishment of specific skills as opposed to overall time spent in the kitchen.
“So we know that when students come out of our program, they have demonstrated that they can do the skills in a working environment,” Clarke said.
The CMC Culinary Institute at the Summit Campus has operated in partnership with Keystone Ski Resort since 1993 and will expand in partnership with Breckenridge Ski Resort starting this summer.
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