OSU Institute of Technology’s School of Culinary Arts will soon offer certificates for students sponsored by employers in need of skilled culinary staff.
Gene Leiterman, dean of the School of Culinary Arts, said the two certificate programs came about after input from industry.
“We heard ‘We don’t have enough skilled workers.’ They need basic entry-level cooks, line cooks,” Leiterman said. “Those in industry see the need to invest in these people and retain them.”
The fast-track culinary certificates are aimed at incumbent employees, those sponsored by employers and even people just looking for a general culinary education.
Culinary Certificate I, which earns students 15 credit hours, and Culinary Certificate II, worth 16 credit hours, each require students to be on campus for two weeks of intense coursework— dubbed culinary boot camp— with the remaining classes being offered online. Each also requires a paid internship.
The curricula for the certificate programs were developed with input from the advisory board as well as industry representatives based on what their needs were.
“They need so many workers and often there’s big turnover. How can we fill that gap?” he said. “We wanted to make sure the culinary certificates could be completed in a short amount of time.”
The certificate program will be piloted during the second half of the summer semester beginning July 9 with interest from the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations to sponsor students.
“We’ll see how it works, make changes and then go full scale,” he said. “We’re talking to restaurant groups and country clubs who could possibly use this program as an incentive for their employees.”
The certificates are stackable credentials, which means the credit hours earned can also be used toward an Associate in Applied Science from OSUIT.
“All the courses in the certificate program are exactly the same as the traditional culinary students get, but the delivery system is different,” Leiterman said. “My goal is to develop different options. They can get their certificate and then maybe they decide they want to do more and come back and complete their AAS. They might also decide they want to pursue a bachelor’s degree at OSU Stillwater. I’m trying to make sure there’s as many options as possible for students at all levels.”