Rolla Technical Institute will offer a culinary arts program beginning in the fall of 2014, the Rolla Board of Education decided Thursday night.
The vote for the new program was unanimous following a presentation by Matt Duncan, director of Rolla Technical Institute/Rolla Technical Center, and Lucas Chapman, assistant director.
“It’s not all cooking,” said Chapman in his part of the presentation. The curriculum will prepare students to do everything from washing dishes to managing a restaurant.
Duncan presented the background of the choice of culinary arts as a program for Rolla education. Noting that the need for career and technical education is as strong now as ever, he said RTI needed to find a new program that would help people find employment in “these challenging economic times.”
“We had to look at high demand,” Duncan said, and culinary arts is an area that is expected to have a high demand for workers. It was listed in Missouri’s top 50 projected job openings for 2006-2016, he noted.
To offer instruction in cooking and restaurant management, Chapman said, it will take $416,500. Rolla Public Schools will pick up $130,000 of those start-up costs, while the balance will come from grants.
The annual cost will be about $85,000.
Initially, it will be open only to secondary school students. Later, adult students will be accepted.
Thirty students will be accepted into the program, Chapman said, 15 for the morning session and 15 for the afternoon session.
Instruction will take place in a classroom, a commercial kitchen and a dining facility.
Duncan and Chapman showed a blueprint of where the culinary arts program will go in the school. It will be between the second and third wing, next to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning instructional area.
Chapman said he felt confident that a qualified instructor can be found. His confidence grew when he met with East Central College personnel about their cooking program.
“I feel confident we will find some highly qualified people,” he said.
High school graduates in the culinary arts program will receive recognized certificates to indicate their credentials.
Board member Aaron Froehlich asked if the program will train people well enough that they can skip the entry-level positions in the food-service profession.
Chapman indicated that would likely occur and said the Rolla program also will prepare the truly serious students for further education in the top four or five cooking schools in Missouri.
In other business or discussion:
• The board heard a report on the so-called “common core curriculum.”
• An update of the construction projects going on this summer was given.
• Statistics from the summer school were presented.
Page 2 of 2 - • The results of a patron survey were given.