Colleges team up with Sunday River on new culinary program

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AUBURN — Southern Maine Community College and Central Maine Community College are teaming up with Sunday River Resort in Newry on a new culinary apprenticeship program that will provide the resort with skilled workers for its restaurants and food outlets.

According to a written statement from SMCC in South Portland, the agreement provides for up to 15 new and current Sunday River employees to 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 in Auburn.

Upon completion, successful participants will become certified culinarians through the American Culinary Federation. The program will be the ACF’s only culinary apprenticeship in New England. At the same time, they 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, according to the statement.

“SMCC is committed to offering workforce training in innovative ways to provide Mainers bright futures while helping businesses strengthen Maine’s economy,” said 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, president and general manager for Sunday River Resort, called the partnership “exciting, innovative and forward-thinking.” The resort will pay the college tuition for the apprentices.

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“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 said.

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 working at Sunday River will teach in-the-kitchen classes, with SMCC and CMCC faculty members teaching courses such as nutrition, food service 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’s 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.”

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