From Students cook up careers at Mercer County’s new culinary academy

November 2nd, 2016

Hamilton residents Michael Dunn, Genesis Fox, Farah Joseph, Malama Toure, Victor Rivera, Ariel Bernhardt and Emily Wolf are all freshmen at the Academy of Culinary Arts in Hopewell. (Photo by Suzette J. Lucas)

Mercer County Technical Schools has launched a new four-year, full-time culinary arts career academy for high school students.


…Students have been learning the culinary arts at the (Mercer County Technical Schools) Sypek Center since the campus opened in 1975.   Chef Scott Engle has been teaching juniors and seniors here in the shared-time program for 18 years.

Shared-time students spend part of the school day learning to cook at Sypek, and part of it at their local school learning everything else.  Seniors also often work at local restaurants in addition to attending class, on externships arranged through the school.

But MCTS offers three four-year programs as well, both at Sypek and the Assunpink Center in Hamilton: STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), health science and now, culinary arts.

The academies are MCTS’ response to growing demand for skilled workers in those areas…A 2015 Department of Labor and Workforce Development report projected that the food service industry would create more than 26,000 new jobs (between 2012 and 2022.)

“Year after year, we have a waiting list for our half-day culinary arts program,” said Dr. Kimberly Schneider, the MCTS superintendent. “A full-time (culinary arts) academy allows us to take this high-demand program to the next level.”

Read the whole story here.

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