The New England Culinary Institute is teaming up with the U.S. Coast Guard and Sandals Resorts to help train their culinary staff.
Sandals Resorts, a luxury resort brand with 15 locations throughout the Caribbean, and NECI have entered a three-year partnership to expand and refine skills of their staff through a series of week-long courses at the flagship resort in Jamaica and on the school’s campus in Montpelier, Vermont.
Working in conjunction with Sandals Corporate University, NECI designed the program to enable the cooks to develop skills they can use to advance their careers with an option to transfer into a degree program upon completion. Based on the initial success of the courses, there is significant interest in expanding the educational program to other Sandals Resort locations around the world.
In addition to the contract with Sandal’s Resorts, NECI announced a new contract with the U.S. Coast Guard to host an advanced culinary training course for recent recruits on the Montpelier campus beginning in late September. Chosen from among the many culinary training schools throughout the country for NECI’s hands-on approach to teaching and the experience level of the instructors, the recruits will spend 28 days on campus rotating through the public production outlets gaining skill and insight in each environment.
Acting president Richard Flies says that these two partnerships validate NEC’s educational model, but also demonstrate the shift in the hospitality industry as skilled workers become increasingly hard to recruit. Flies says this is also an important move on the part of NECI to begin to address the shrinking number of students, and instead focus its well-established national brand on training for the hospitality business and industry.
“The demand for graduates of our culinary and baking and pastry programs is incredible. There are never enough of those graduates to fill all the positions employers reach out to our school with,” he says. “These tailored industry programs fit the needs of each client, but it also gives their employees the foundation to advance their careers. We are discussing these types of trainings with a number of groups and we see a lot of potential for this type of employee training of existing staff.”