April 19, 2014

Elyria
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LCCC plans culinary program

Site hasn’t been determined, but college intends to offer classes in fall 2008

ELYRIA — Lorain County Community College plans to begin offering a culinary arts program in fall 2008.
Plans for a program have been in the works for more than a year. While the university hasn’t yet started recruiting faculty for the associate-degree program, a curriculum has been established and posted on the college’s Web site.
Posting the career offering now informs prospective students, said Marcia Ballinger, vice president of strategic planning for LCCC.
“Once a program has been approved, we typically share the information so individuals will know it’s in the planning stage. Our goal is to move to implementation,” Ballinger said.
Where the collegiate-level culinary program will be located, however, has yet to be determined, but the St. Joseph Community Center in Lorain is a possibility, Ballinger said.
County Administrator Jim Cordes attempted to strike a deal a year ago with a nationally known culinary school to locate in the financially strapped St. Joseph center.
The deal fell through, however, when South Shore Development, owner of the St. Joseph Community Center, couldn’t come up with an estimated $8.5 million needed to demolish the old building and construct a new one for the school within the unnamed culinary school’s demands.
Cordes then proposed a culinary school to LCCC, but on a smaller scale than originally envisioned with the hopes that it could be located at St. Joseph.
Ballinger said this week the college has not made a final determination on where the culinary arts school will be located, but “St. Joseph is certainly an option.”
 “We’re in a very developmental process,” Ballinger said. “We know there’s a need in the community for a collegiate-level program, and our intent is to pursue the planning to make it a reality.”
Cordes could not be reached for comment.
The demand for workers in the culinary arts field is growing, especially in Northeast Ohio, because of a growing tourism industry, Ballinger said.
Tim Michitsch, a chef instructor in the culinary arts program at Lorain County Joint Vocational School, said a collegiate-level program in Lorain County would be a huge benefit for the JVS students.
Students who wish to reach the highest levels in a culinary career now must attend culinary schools in southern Ohio or out of state.
Michitsch said students could save a lot of money if JVS and LCCC work out an agreement where JVS students earn college credit for certain classes they already take at JVS.
“A school could be a win-win for everybody,” Michitsch said.
“We have agreements with a lot of schools, where the students test out of certain classes because we do it here,’’ Michitsch said. “Kids can save a lot of money at post-secondary schools by going through our program and getting college credit for some of the courses they’ve already taken.”
Many JVS students go on to attend the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, N.Y., or Johnson & Wales University, two of the country’s premier culinary schools.
Michitsch said that 70 to 80 percent of the program’s graduates go on to a post-secondary school.
“In the last graduating class, we had received over $500,000 in scholarships. We had 34 students, and 20 of them got scholarships,” he said.
Graduates of a post-secondary school are prepared to move into chef and restaurant management positions or own a food service business.
Students who would graduate from the LCCC program would be awarded an associate of applied business degree.
An important ingredient in LCCC’s new culinary school would be an accreditation from the American Culinary Federation, a professional chefs’ organization that conducts on-site visits and reviews of programs.
An accreditation from ACF is a weighty designation and carries a lot of influence with potential students and employers. But LCCC’s program would have to be up and running before it could acquire the ACF accreditation, Michitsch said.
“Such a program just doesn’t happen; you have to bring in the right people and build it from within and then market it,” he said.
Ballinger said a lot of planning and work is going into establishing the new program.
“It’s a process that has so many different elements,” she said.
Contact Bette Pearce at 329-7148 or bpearce@chroniclet.com.