1. Increase student job placement and success, as well as program reputation in industry and academia. In order to ensure that our students have the necessary skills to gain employment and thrive in today’s state-of-the-art facilities, we must have comparable “facilities” in which to train them. We have opportunities to partner with large corporations, like: Safeway, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Whole Foods, UCSF Medical Center, Hilton Hotels, Bon Appétit Management Company, and top local area restaurants. However, in order to do so, our students must have exposure to and experience with the types of equipment used by such organizations. Without this, our students cannot perform, industry “partners” are negatively impressed and our program reputation suffers. To successfully draw and retain students, as well as industry partnerships, our program must be competitive with other educational institutions in meeting industry demand. The only way to effect this is by providing facilities consistent with current industry standards, as well as technological trends.
That said, investment does not end with purchase. Maintenance of equipment and the facilities housing said equipment are vital. A comprehensive Preventative Maintenance Program and robust Scheduled Cleaning Contract are imperative. For years, our department has operated in the absence of both, with calamitous results. We have endured several Alameda County Health Department citations and sanctions, resulting in the repeated closure of our lab facilities (kitchens). Most egregiously, though, with each of these closures we have been forced to cancel classes. In fact, in the past year, we have been ordered to shut down our facilities so many times that one class missed 16 weeks of lab instruction. This is untenable.
It is important to keep in mind that ours is a “self-funded” program. We cannot achieve SLO’s, get food to the various outlets for which we are responsible and instruct our students correctly, when our facilities are unkempt and our equipment is not state-of-the-art.