ACF Education Foundation Celebrates Apprentices in Special Week

The American Culinary Federation and its educational arm, the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF), are celebrating the U.S. Department of Labor’s third annual National Apprenticeship Week, November 13-19. 

To raise awareness of the value of culinary apprenticeships, ACF is providing resources and success stories to encourage employers to explore the creation of new apprenticeship programs and prospective apprentices to enroll in local opportunities at

ACFEF apprenticeships offer a combination of on-the-job experience and related classroom instruction and have been expanding access to hands-on culinary training for emerging professionals since the formal program began in 1979.  Today, there are more than 1,280 registered apprentices in 49 ACFEF programs across the nation and 15 military installations.

“Apprenticeship is a proven, time-honored way for chefs to obtain the knowledge, skills and confidence that enable them to pursue successful careers, and for employers to help build the talent they need,” says ACF National President Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC. “ACF is proud to have worked with the Department of Labor to formalize this approach to culinary training in 1979 and delighted to celebrate its continued success during National Apprenticeship Week.”

ACFEF programs place apprentices in a wide variety of facilities across the country where they can train in every station of the kitchen, including independent and chain restaurants, hotels and resorts, educational institutions, hospitals, residential communities and more. Apprentices who complete the two- or three-year program have the opportunity to receive an American Culinary Federation Certified Culinarian, Certified Pastry Culinarian, Certified Sous Chef or Certified Working Pastry Chef culinary designation. 

In September, ACF launched its latest apprenticeship program in conjunction with Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) in Pennsylvania. Through this program, the apprentices will work closely with chef instructors within HE&R’s 20 unique dining venues, ranging from casual coffee shops to four-star cuisine.

“Apprenticeships allow students to ‘earn while they learn’ and offer unparalleled opportunities for mentorship from experienced culinary professionals,” says Kevin C. Clarke, CCE, J.D., ACFEF Apprenticeship Committee chair. “Hands-on training is essential in our industry, and our guidelines ensure that apprentices are developing the documented culinary skills and professional work ethic that hospitality employers seek and value.”

ACFEF programs are part of a network of apprenticeships nationwide in more than 1,000 occupations, including healthcare, energy and IT. The U.S. currently has over 545,000 apprentices working with more than 150,000 employers, and nearly nine out of 10 are employed after completing their apprenticeship. Earlier this year, President Trump issued an executive order expanding apprenticeships in America and establishing a Taskforce within the Department of Labor to achieve that goal.

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