Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
Clarke County Career and Technology Center (Vo-Tech) students now have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge on two things they are already familiar with: food and children.
Culinary Arts and Early Childhood Education are two new programs that have joined the academic and hands-on approaches to learning taking place at CCCTC – also known as "on the hill." Through the programs, students will find out that there is more to food than just tasting it and more to children than just babysitting.
According to Chundra Blakley, CCCTC student coordinator, individuals with an education or training in culinary arts or early childhood education are highly employable.
"Particularly in our region," Blakley said "Numerous opportunities exist for individuals seeking careers in these areas, whether working for someone or beginning their own business.
"In our area’s larger cities/towns, many culinary arts careers can be found in restaurants, both national chain restaurants and locally owned establishments, but throughout our region numerous small locally owned restaurants, delicatessens and catering businesses can be found as well," she said. "In addition to food industry jobs in the region, we have several preschool day cares, a HeadStart Program, pre-kindergarten programs,and elementary schools and being located within an hour's drive of larger cities/towns many other occupational opportunities are plentiful and accessible."
The Culinary Arts Program involves the art of preparing and cooking foods. The student, also known as the culinary artist, will be responsible for skillfully preparing a meal pleasing to the taste buds, as well as the eyes.
"In this class, students will have the opportunity to develop recipes and preparation techniques from famous chefs with the use of technology to assist them in the kitchen," Blakley said.
She noted that students will be amazed at the careers that involve culinary arts, such as consultants and designers that develop menus and layouts for dining rooms, food writers, photographers, hotel/restaurant managers and dietitians. In the classroom, students will have the opportunity to browse The Food Network online to help critique their own skills.
"Who knows what famous person will rise from this class? Remember, Little Debbie had to start somewhere," Blakley said.
In the Early Childhood Education program, students will focus on the stages of childhood development, from birth to 5 years old.
"They will research the history of childcare, become knowledgeable about nutritional laws and regulations in the state, and they will be fascinated to find out why we do things the way we do now, when it comes to childcare," Blakley said.
Students will fine-tune strategies for reading to a baby and then to a 5 year old. They will work hands-on with children in daycares and preschool classes. And, students will have the opportunity to participate in the Family, Careers, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) – formerly Future Homemakers of America – competition.
"They will find out the importance of being knowledgeable in childcare when choosing a career as a childcare provider, pediatric nurse, teacher, teacher assistant, children’s photographer, pediatrician, nanny and education specialist. Students have already visited London by way of the Web to find out how interesting it would be to become a nanny," she said.
Culinary Arts and Early Childhood Education programs are designed to complement existing programs offered at Clarke County Career and Technology Center (Vo-Tech), which include Automotive Mechanics Technology, Forestry, and Health Sciences. Adult night classes in certified nursing assistant training and welding are also available.
For more information on any of the career training programs at CCCTC, call (601) 776-5219.