Our View: Courses worth serving | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: Courses worth serving

— One of the most important roles Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus can play is providing relevant work force training to residents. The planned addition of a two-year associate degree program in culinary arts for the Steamboat Springs campus could be a fantastic fit for our resort community.

Peter Perhac, the CEO of the Alpine Campus, recently announced the creation of the culinary arts degree program. It could begin as soon as the fall 2012 semester with the opening of the college's planned 60,000-square-foot administrative and classroom building. Perhac said the entire third floor of the building — about 6,000 square feet — would be devoted to a commercial kitchen, an adjacent classroom and potentially a dining area where diners could watch students work from behind a glass wall.

Steamboat's won't be the first CMC campus to offer a culinary arts program. The Summit County and Eagle County campuses offer three-year, 66-credit, 4,000-hour apprenticeship and degree programs, and each has been around for more than a decade.

The program is a logical fit for a Colorado resort community like ours. A town full of restaurants stands to benefit significantly from having a professional work force training center available at relatively low cost just steps away from downtown. Further, this is precisely the type of program colleges like CMC should strive to introduce for their constituents. Aligning education programs with work force needs simply makes sense.

We're excited, for example, about the possibility of local high school students being introduced to the culinary arts before they decide on the type of post-secondary education or career they want to pursue. The culinary arts program offers great benefit to those workers already in the food service industry. Imagine a program that allows those employees to continue in their existing jobs while simultaneously receiving additional training and education that can help them advance in their chosen field.

The Alpine Campus long has offered resort management and ski industry-specific courses for students who provide logical training for jobs that potentially await in the community. Creating a culinary arts degree program seems to have great potential for students and the community — certainly for restaurant owners and the diners who patron their businesses and stand to benefit from better trained and educated employees. Kudos to CMC officials for the planned creation of the program in Steamboat Springs. We hope it becomes as successful in practice as it is in theory.

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