Culinary Arts Institute Opens ‘Forty Foot Café

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College celebrated the launch of its newest entrepreneurial initiative today with a ribbon cutting ceremony for a retail bakery café at its Culinary Arts Institute (CAI) in Towamencin Township.

Opening its doors to the community next Wednesday, Oct. 15, Forty Foot Café will offer assorted baked goods, coffee, sandwiches and other items prepared and sold by CAI students. Revenue from the sales will support the Culinary Arts programs, and tips will help students pay for competition and event fees, aprons and other program-related items. The café will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8:30-11:30 a.m., with easy access and convenient parking from Forty Foot Road.

“The bakery café provides a hands-on opportunity for students to learn the soft skills of operating a business, including how to handle customers and any issues that may arise, like running out coffee,” CAI Director Francine Marz told the roomful of attendees who gathered for the ceremony. “The students operating the café are part of our new course, Retails Operations I, in which students learn these invaluable customer service skills, along with how to produce culinary items and baked goods on a large scale.”

College President Karen A. Stout praised the partnerships that facilitated CAI’s construction and growth.

“Vision and collaboration are necessary for a new business endeavor to prosper, and that is what we see at work here today,” she said. “This state-of-the-art facility for our culinary program was made possible by a public-private partnership with Towamencin Township and Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation.

“Our partners also include benefactors like Alma Jacobs, emeritus member of our Foundation Board of Directors and longtime supporter of the College, who invest in our students by providing scholarships,” Stout continued. “And our CAI team of instructors and administrators, who develop and implement programs that will provide our students with a well-developed spectrum of skills to succeed.”

The CAI’s future plans call for the opening of a restaurant bistro in the spring to coincide with the Retails Operations II and Quantitative Food courses that will be offered. Like the café, the bistro will feature rotating menu options prepared by the students in their courses.

For second-year culinary student Jennifer Rejniak, 38, of Glenside, the CAI and the J. Alexander and Alma Jacobs’ culinary scholarship enabled her to make a life-changing career decision. Rejniak worked as a park ranger for 10 years when she was seriously injured in a car accident and was advised not to return to that type of physically demanding work. So instead, she pursued her passion for cooking.

“It was a tough struggle to get here, but meeting my fellow classmates and hearing their hopes, fears and dreams solidified everything that I was feeling. . . Being a part of the inaugural class to step foot inside this beautiful facility has opened my eyes to the fact that I am part of something very special,” she said.

The name of the new retail bakery, Forty Foot Café, was the result of a contest and was submitted by Baking and Pastry Arts student Shannon Booker. As a result of her winning entry, she received a certificate and VIP luncheon for her and five guests.

Dean of Business & Entrepreneurial Initiatives/Strategic Advisor to the President Philip Needles, Culinary Arts Institute Director Chef Francine Marz, College President Karen A. Stout, College Board of Trustees Chairperson Michael D’Aniello and Culinary Arts Student Jennifer Rejniak cut the ceremonial ribbon for the opening of the Culinary Arts Institute’s new retail bakery café, Forty Foot Café. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Dean of Business & Entrepreneurial Initiatives/Strategic Advisor to the President Philip Needles, Culinary Arts Institute Director Chef Francine Marz, College President Karen A. Stout, College Board of Trustees Chairperson Michael D’Aniello and Culinary Arts Student Jennifer Rejniak cut the ceremonial ribbon for the opening of the Culinary Arts Institute’s new retail bakery café, Forty Foot Café. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Revisions to Education Curriculum Completed

by Alana J. Mauger

From pre-k to high school, teachers play an integral role in shaping students’ lives. And for decades, Montgomery County Community College’s Education programs have helped prepare teachers for the task. That preparation starts with an innovative curriculum that keeps pace with industry trends and transfer standards.

The College completed a multi-phase redesign of its Education programs in September, when the College’s Board of Trustees approved changes to the Secondary Education Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree program. That program completes the College’s redesigned Education portfolio, which also includes Education in the Early Years: Birth Through Grade Four A.A. and Education in the Middle Years: Grades Four through Eight A.A., approved in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

The Secondary Education A.A. program prepares students for transfer and ultimately certification to teach grades seven through 12. The program is divided into three distinct areas: liberal arts courses, professional education courses, and specific subject matter courses.

The College’s Education in the Early Years A.A. program, accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, prepares graduates for professional opportunities as teachers in early childhood settings and/or enables them to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree and teach elementary school up to grade four. The curriculum aligns with the statewide requirements for Early Childhood programs that ensure transfer to any of the fourteen universities in the state system of higher education.

Students enrolled in Education in the Middle Years A.A. program are required to select two areas of concentration, such as science and math, reading/language arts and social studies, or a similar combination (depending on the transfer institution). Graduates are prepared to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree and receive a Middle Years certification.

All three programs align with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) certification requirements, for which students must complete nine credits of special education courses and a three-credit course for teaching English language learners. Students must also take MCCC’s Introduction to Education course (EDU 100), which allows students to observe different classrooms at different grade levels and to learn about certification options and requirements, as well as Public Speaking (SPC 120) for Secondary and Teaching with Technology (EDU 120) for Middle Years and Secondary.

The Education program modifications also ensure that MCCC students can transfer seamlessly in to programs at four-year colleges and universities. In fact, the College worked closely with regional institutions to ensure that  students will transfer as juniors, having already fulfilled the schools’ first and second year requirements as long as they earn passing scores on the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) exams.

Visit the College’s Education webpage online to learn more.

West Campus to Host Annual Fall Career Expo in Pottstown

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus will hold its annual Fall Career Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the South Hall Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

Approximately 50 area employers will be on hand to recruit for part-time, full-time, temporary and seasonal employment, as well as for internships. The fair is free of charge and is open to the community.

Job searchers are encouraged to dress professionally and bring copies of their resumes to leave with employers.

Businesses and organizations that wish to participate in the Career Expo should contact Rena Allen Daniels at 610-718-1840 or rdaniels@mc3.edu.

To learn more about Career Services at Montgomery County Community College, visit mc3.edu/student-resources/career-services.

Get to Know Montgomery County Community College at Fall Open Houses

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College will hold three open houses this fall to provide prospective students and the community with information about the College’s programs, campuses and activities. The open houses are free of charge and are open to the public. For more information and to pre-register, visit mc3.edu/openhouse or call 215-641-6551.

The College’s West Campus, located at 101 College Drive in Pottstown, will host an open house on Thursday, Oct. 16, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. in the South Hall Community Room.

The College’s Central Campus, located at 340 DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell, will host an open house on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m.-noon in Parkhouse Hall.

Both open houses will provide prospective students and their families with information about the College’s credit and non-credit programs. Admissions representatives will be on hand to answer questions about the admissions process, transfer opportunities, e-learning, financial aid and intercollegiate athletics, among other topics, and members of the College’s faculty will share information on the 100+ associate degree and certificate programs that are part of a comprehensive curriculum.

The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College will also host an open house on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 10 a.m.-noon at its new facility located at 1400 Forty Foot Road in Lansdale, Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the kitchens and classrooms while learning about the College’s Culinary Arts and Pastry and Baking Arts associate degree programs, as well as its Culinary Enthusiast classes. Student Success Center advisors will be on hand to answer questions about the admissions process and financial aid, among other topics.

To learn more about all the Montgomery County Community College has to offer, visit mc3.edu online.

Global Corporate College: International Connections for Regional Impact

by Alana J. Mauger

Suzanne Holloman, dean of Workforce Development, and Dr. Brook Hunt, director of the Center Workforce Development, stand with Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) nine Pig awards from the Global Corporate College.

Suzanne Holloman, dean of Workforce Development, and Dr. Brook Hunt, director of the Center Workforce Development, stand with Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) nine Pig awards from the Global Corporate College.

Community colleges have a proven track record in building the economic growth of the regions they serve by offering employers customized workforce development and training. But some institutions—like Montgomery County Community College—are thinking even bigger.

Close to 50 colleges and universities across the United States are part of the Global Corporate College (GCC), an international network that provides corporations with quality and consistent workforce training curricula for employees regardless of location, language and learning needs. Currently, GCC has global partners in 24 countries, which, according to its website, makes it the largest, multi-modal human capital development network in the world. Through a partnership with Growth Development Associates (GDA), GCC institutions also have access to extensive sales management and training curricula.

“Each GCC partner college has access to the largest body of incumbent worker training curriculum,” explains Dr. Brook Hunt, director of Montgomery County Community College’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD). “As a result, this curriculum enables the colleges to build custom solutions for our customers at our competitors’ ‘off the shelf’ prices.”

Since 2012, Montgomery County Community College’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD) has partnered with both GCC and GDA to provide custom training programs and industry forums for dozens of employers in the Greater Philadelphia business community. Clients include Cobham PLC, Lansdale; Blommer Chocolate, East Greenville; Pointroll, King of Prussia; HP Hood LLC, Hatfield and Philadelphia; SKF USA, Lansdale; Stein Seal, Kulpsville; and Curtiss-Wright, EST Group, Hatfield, among others.

Those employers cite positive experiences with GCC and GDA customized training.

“Through CWD and Global Corporate College, we customized a training program for over 50 employees…based on [their] needs and the company’s training goals,” said Joanne Reagan, senior human resources manager for HP Hood, LLC. “The training program was well received. We look forward to continuing our partnership with CWD and GCC.”

“Curtiss-Wright, EST Group, partnered with CWD and Growth Development Associates to energize our sales training efforts,” says Drew Bergman, director, sales and marketing. “The program that GDA developed was specifically tailored to our business, and has resulted in increased staff focus on closing techniques and supported a current initiative to gain “add-on” product accessory sales.  The results have been outstanding.  Our staff came away charged up and excited to put the techniques to use.”

For its efforts, Montgomery was recognized with three distinguished awards during GCC’s annual Institute in Indianapolis over the summer. Dr. Brook Hunt was one of two recipients of the inaugural Spirit of Global Corporate College Award, given in recognition of an individual’s exemplary commitment, spirit and contribution toward fulfilling the mission of GCC.

Montgomery was also earned nine “Pig” awards for securing or expanding GCC and GDA contracts and was the only 2014 “Poodle” award recipient, which is awarded to institutions that bring in five or more new contracts.

To learn more, visit Montgomery County Community College’s Center for Workforce Development online.

College Joins ‘Yellow Ribbon Program’ to Benefit Student Veterans

by Ben Litman and Alana J. Mauger

Yellow RibbonMontgomery County Community College was recently selected to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the 2014-15 academic year. The program enables the College to assist up to 10 student veterans with fees associated with out-of-state residency.

“Many students return or relocate to Pennsylvania after their military service only to be charged as ‘out-of-state’ residents, which the VA does not cover under normal Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits,” explains former U.S. Marine Justin Machain, coordinator of veterans services at Montgomery. “The College applied to, and was accepted by, the Yellow Ribbon Program to assist these students with out-of-state costs starting this fall.”

To qualify for funding, veterans must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and cannot be on active duty. Visit benefits.va.gov/gibill/yellow_ribbon.asp for full eligibility requirements.

Montgomery County Community College’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program builds on its commitment to a student veteran population that has grown by close to 130 percent since 2007. Fiscal year 2013-14 saw 705 student veterans enrolled at the College, which is nationally designated as a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media for five years running.

The College’s support services for student veterans include a dedicated resource center, lounge, new student orientation, study groups, career counseling and yoga, among others, facilitated by a dedicated Veterans Support Team. The College also has an active Student Veterans Organization, which is an official chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA).

Veteran services are a part of the College’s overarching Student Success Initiative—expanding access to higher education and increasing student success through process improvements and support strategies that reduce the barriers for students to complete their education.

To learn more about Veterans Affairs at Montgomery County Community College, visit mc3.edu/student-resources/vrc or contact Justin Machain at 215-619-7307 or veterans@mc3.edu. For information about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, visit gibill.va.gov.

New Certificate Launched to Fill Pharmacy Technician Demand

by Alana J. Mauger

Pharmacy technician jobs are expected to grow by 20 percent through 2022—nine percent higher than the average growth rate for all occupations nationally according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. The demand holds true in Pennsylvania as well; the Commonwealth is ranked fourth among states in the number of pharmacy technicians currently employed.

To help fill the demand in this growing field, Montgomery County Community College is introducing a Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program this fall. Classes are held Saturdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. starting Oct. 4 and ending Dec. 20 at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Program tuition is $1,638. To learn more, call 215-641-6374 or click here.

The College’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program is comprised of 55 hours of classroom instruction along with Health 21, a 21-hour online component that provides an overview of the health care industry. Students are required to complete homework assignments, as well as mid-term and final exams. Upon successful completion, graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician.

Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health care professionals. Fifty-three percent of technicians are employed in pharmacies and drug stores, with others employed in hospitals, general merchandise and grocery stores, and ambulatory health care services. Positions may be full or part time and often include evenings and weekends.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reports that candidates with formal training or prior experience have the best opportunity for employment as pharmacy technicians. In 2012, the median salary for pharmacy technicians was $29,320 nationally.