The Arc of the Bay graduated its second class of six Culinary Institute students on Sunday, July 26.
Kori Saucier, Shawn Pipkin, Justin Rigdon, Nikolena Killinger, Ian Whitley, and Christopher Sammelmann were recognized as the program’s Summer 2020 graduates. Kori Saucier was also awarded the program’s Paul Ashman Award, an award that recognizes her unwavering dedication to the program.
These students completed the 15 week-long culinary program and are now ready for employment in the food service industry.
“Working with these students has been a wonderful experience,” said Culinary Institute Head Chef Jacob Fravel. “I am so proud of how much they’ve grown and how they’ve demonstrated their talents. With what they have learned here, I have no doubt that each one of them will become a strong member of the team wherever they go.”
The Culinary Institute is a vocational-focused culinary arts program, created and operated by The Arc of the Bay. This program trains disabled individuals both in the classroom and on the job to get them “restaurant ready” in order to gain employment in the culinary field.
To get this program off the ground, CareerSource Gulf Coast was able to obtain a grant to fund the program costs, including a professional chef to train the students.
“CareerSource Gulf Coast is glad to work with The Arc of the Bay on this program,” said CareerSource Gulf Coast Executive Director Kim Bodine. “This program has been great for our students, and we are so proud of our graduates!”
While in this program, students learn “front and back of house” restaurant duties within a restaurant setting. As part of the training, the students also prepare for, and take, the ServSafe certification— an industry-recognized credential. This certification assists students with gaining employment in the restaurant/food service industry once they complete the program.
“The Culinary Institute is providing essential skills training to our students,” said The Arc of the Bay Executive Director Ron Sharpe. “I am grateful for the partnerships we have that made this program possible, as well as the incredible staff who have dedicated themselves to this program and our students. I am so proud of our graduates! I look forward to seeing the opportunities this training will provide them with.”
For more information on the Culinary Institute, please contact The Arc of the Bay at bayarc.org/culinary-institute/ or (850) 265-2951.