Culinary Program for at-risk students launched

by Steve Wiggins
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THE SHOALS – The Shoals Entrepreneurial Center and Northwest Shoals Community College are cooking up something special for 12 lucky young people. This summer,  a dozen students will participate in a hands-on culinary experience designed to teach them the fundamentals of food service, to prepare them for careers in a culinary environment.

College President Dr. Humphrey Lee and SEC Executive Director Giles McDaniel together designed this program for at-risk young adults, ages 18-25, who want to learn or improve their culinary skills and have an interest in a career in the food service industry. And they won’t have to pay any tuition since all expenses are covered.

The 16-week program begins July 17. Upon completion, program graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and skills that could provide opportunities for a new life through a culinary career.

Chef Kevin Kilburn

“Instruction includes resume building, food safety and sanitation, and students will be given the National Restaurant Association’s Serv-Safe certification exam,” said professional chef Kevin Kilburn, who will lead the classes. “Our classes will include about 25 percent lecture, but 75 percent of the instruction will be hands-on work in the kitchen.”







S.E.C. Director Giles McDaniel

According to Shoals Entrepreneurial Center Executive Director Giles McDaniel, the program is funded through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and is designed so that program participants can be placed with an employer in the food industry and encouraged to continue their culinary education.

“Through our partnership with Northwest-Shoals, we were able to secure the grant, and now we’re ready to accept applicants,” McDaniel said. “This will be a great thing for the community, our students and the employers in the area who will have employees with hands-on training.”

Students who are chosen for the program do not pay tuition, as all costs are underwritten.








Dr. Humphrey Lee – NWS-CC President

“This partnership is a natural fit,” said Humphrey Lee, Northwest Shoals Community College president. “We are always looking for ways to effectively train individuals so that they can have a new or better career. We think this program will accomplish those goals.”

Applications for the 12 spots must be received by 5 p.m. on July 6 for consideration.

“After we receive the applications, we will select our inaugural class, and they will begin their training,” said Chef Kilburn. “It will be fast-paced, fun, and a great way to get a good start in a culinary career.”
Students who are interested in applying for the program can call the Shoals Culinary Complex at (256) 764-0044 or the Northwest-Shoals Community College at (256) 331-5200 for an application.


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