Funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission will enable the Shoals Culinary Academy in Florence to provide culinary training for up to 24 at-risk students. The center has been instrumental in helping a number of talented cooks to mass produce and market their food products.
“The Shoals Entrepreneurial Center has produced many success stories, and this program has the potential to create even more,” Bentley said. “Students will be introduced to new possibilities and it will provide them with experience in a vocation they may want to pursue.”
The program is geared to students who are considered “at risk”.
“This program allows us to reach young people who are not traditional learners and equip them with a skill for the growing food industry,” said Giles McDaniel, director of The Shoals Entrepreneurial Center . “We also hope to identify potential new food entrepreneurs from the program. We could not have attempted this program without commitment from Northwest Shoals Community College,” add McDaniel.
Students enrolled in the 16-week program will spend about 75 percent of their time training in the kitchen and the remainder of the course learning food industry basics. Fundamentals of culinary practices and food safety and sanitation will be taught. The center opened its culinary academy in 2001 using a former school cafeteria as its kitchen. Several clients have successfully marketed their food products to regional grocers. The center has been featured on The Today Show, national public radio and several national and regional publications.
ARC was established by Congress in 1965 as a supplemental grant program to raise the standard of living, improve the quality of life and promote economic development in portions of 13 Appalachian mountain states, including 37 counties in Alabama.
In Alabama, the ARC program is administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. ADECA administers a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, workforce development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.