by Jocelyn Tolbert
Southern Maine Community College and Central Maine Community College are teaming up with Sunday River Resort on a new culinary apprenticeship program that will provide Sunday River skilled workers it needs for its restaurants and food outlets.
Under the agreement, up to 15 new and current Sunday River employees will begin taking culinary classes in September while working full-time at Sunday River. Participants will take classes on-site at Sunday River and either online through SMCC or online and/or on-site at CMCC.
Upon completion, successful participants will become Certified Culinarians through the American Culinary Federation (ACF); the program will be the ACF’s only culinary apprenticeship program in New England. At the same time, the students will receive college credits and can earn a college degree during the apprenticeship.
The partnership represents SMCC’s and CMCC’s continued commitment to providing Mainers flexible pathways to grow their skill sets and advance their careers.
“SMCC is committed to offering workforce training in innovative ways to provide Mainers bright futures while helping businesses strengthen Maine’s economy,” says SMCC President Ron Cantor. “Our training partnership with Sunday River helps the company address its ongoing need for skilled workers and helps prepare more Maine people for in-demand careers.”
Dana Bullen, Resort President and General Manager for Sunday River Resort, called the partnership “exciting, innovative and forward-thinking.” Sunday River Resort will pay the college tuition for those in the apprenticeship program.
“These team members will receive an incredibly valuable experience, not to mention a degree, which ultimately positions them in the highest demand both here at Sunday River as well as throughout our parent company Boyne Resorts’ entire network,” Bullen says.
Participants will be employed by Sunday River and earn a paycheck while taking part in the two-year, 4,000-hour apprenticeship program at no cost to them. Chefs now working at Sunday River will teach in-the-kitchen classes at Sunday River, with SMCC and CMCC faculty members teaching courses such as Nutrition, Foodservice Management and Supervisory Management.
Participants also have the option to take general education college courses, such as English and math, at no cost to them during their apprenticeship so they can earn an associate degree in Culinary Arts at either SMCC or CMCC.
“This apprenticeship program is a creative approach to hospitality education that builds on the strong technical skills students receive through Central Maine Community College,” said Anne St. Pierre, associate dean of academic affairs at Central Maine Community College. “Students will further their culinary and managerial skills at community college while participating in industry-specific experiences at Sunday River.”