Jefferson Announces Culinary Program Designed for Blind and Visually Impaired Students
Jefferson Community and Technical College prides itself on opening doors to possibilities for students of all abilities, and today Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EDWC) Derrick Ramsey and Jefferson President Ty Handy joined local leaders in celebrating a new program that embodies that mission.
In search of a high-quality curriculum that would prepare students with the skills necessary to be successful, EWDC’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) reached out to Jefferson’s Workforce Solutions to create an intensive hands-on course focused on food preparation, sanitation and entrepreneurial accounting. In addition to classroom experience, students engage in on-the-job training with an area vendor. Students earn 13 credit hours and a Professional Development Certificate through the Culinary Arts program.
“The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet is committed to creating career pathways for all Kentuckians,” said Ramsey. “Through our Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, we have collaborated with Jefferson Community and Technical College to provide work-based learning experiences such as job shadowing, internships and apprenticeship opportunities to increase career opportunities to individuals with disabilities.”
The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation provides services to Kentuckians with disabilities to deliver opportunities for employment and independence. In 2017, the office provided services to approximately 27,000 individuals throughout the Commonwealth. Through the division of Kentucky Business Enterprises, OVR has been committed to training and certifying Kentuckians who are legally blind in food services by providing them with licenses to operate snack bars, dining facilities and automated vending facilities in public and private locations.
Jefferson’s Culinary Arts program benefits visually impaired and blind students who have a desire to run cafeterias, food kiosks or vending machines. Cramer Schneider is a recent college graduate who says the courses are giving him real-life experiences that will be valuable as an entrepreneur.
“The instruction is great but they also cut us loose so that we were quickly able to become independent,” said Schneider. “I know I’ll be prepared for whatever career path I take.”
Workforce Solutions links the greater Louisville community to the many resources Jefferson provides to meet regional workforce development needs. By offering flexible, diverse educational training and services, Workforce Solutions can provide site-based program delivery as well as customized credit and non-credit offerings.
“Workforce Solutions provides thousands of hours of innovative training each year to some of the largest employers in our region, so this partnership was a natural fit,” said Handy. “It is our duty to this community to help grow and enhance a skilled workforce that and we are proud work with Secretary Ramsey to answer that challenge.”