Niagara County Community College President James P. Klyczek announced NCCC has been named as a finalist and will compete for the prestigious 2015 Bellwether Awards. Nominated alongside 1,000 other community colleges, NCCC has been selected as one of 10 finalists in the category of Workforce Development for its program titled "Retail Partnership Preparing an Educated and Experienced Workforce" at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.
Klyczek and other college stakeholders will present NFCI's forward-thinking program model to the Community College Futures Assembly and a national panel of judges Jan. 26, 2015, in Orlando, Florida. Awards will be announced Jan. 27.
"Niagara County Community College is honored to be recognized by the Community College Futures Assembly for the contribution that the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute has made to the revitalization of the city's downtown," Klyczek said. "We are proud to play a role in the City of Niagara Falls' economic development."
In 2012, NFCI opened its doors to students and visitors alike, transforming the former Rainbow Mall building from an eyesore at the base of Niagara Falls State Park to a 90,000-square-foot facility providing students with access to seven state-of-the-art teaching kitchens. Students also benefit from internships in the fine dining restaurant, where they gain experience with an in-kitchen chef's table, open-hearth oven and exhibition-style cooking. NFCI has an ice-sculpting lab, wine boutique, European-style pastry café and New York-style deli open to the public, where students apply the skills learned in classroom and laboratory. Students also work in the Barnes and Noble culinary-themed bookstore.
Additionally, a 100-seat demonstration theater with a full kitchen serves as a classroom and as a venue for visiting chefs. The institute serves the academic needs of students and prepares them to meet local workforce demands by offering hands-on experience, better preparing them to enter the workforce with exceptional skills.
Since opening the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, the number of NCCC students entering hospitality and tourism programs has steadily increased from 350 students to more than 500 credit and non-credit students. It is the goal of the college that, within five years, the institute will serve 1,000 students annually.
As part of the curriculum, students participate in internship hours in the retail facilities gaining valuable experiences. Along with serving students, the facility also is open to the public, bringing valuable self-sustaining revenue to the institute. Locals and tourists alike can enjoy the fine dining restaurant, deli, pastry shop and wine boutique.
The Community College Futures Assembly, celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, convenes annually as an independent national policy forum for key opinion leaders to serve as a think-tank in identifying critical issues facing the future of community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether Finalist colleges as trend-setting institutions. For more information, visit the Community College Futures Assembly website, http://education.ufl.edu/futures, or email [email protected].