Pennsauken, New Jersey— A high school classroom in New Jersey sure smells good.
International baking ingredients company Puratos has partnered with Pennsauken High School in Camden County to create a baking program for high school students. This program helps students prepare for their future.
“I got involved because I wanted to open a restaurant one day,” said Saida Saoud, a senior who has taken cooking classes at the school.
The techniques, math and science behind baking are all part of the school’s career and technical education program, taught by Kendall Elliot, who has worked in the industry for many years.
“We want them to know what’s actually happening when all the ingredients are mixed in the bowl – just like the flour needs to be hydrated from the water,” Elliott said.
The district launched the program with Puratos, which has its North American headquarters in Pennsauken. Puratos currently has nine such baking schools around the world.
“In the U.S., the American Bakers Guild says the top challenge facing the industry is a shortage of skilled labor, so it’s clear we should take action to help our customers,” said Andrew Brimacomb, President of Puratos USA. Andrew Brimacombe explains. .
Not only do students learn baking skills, they also prepare themselves for the workplace – whether at Puratos or elsewhere.
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“We think our purpose is bigger than Puratos. We want to be a significant player in the industry and help the industry move forward,” Brimacombe said.
Saoud and Matt McDaniel had just returned from an eight-week summer internship with Puratos in Texas, where they traveled with the company and talked with customers.
“They’re great people to talk to and find different opportunities for us in the industry,” McDaniel said.
In recent years, the school has grown its career and technical education options, offering ten different programs, including baking.
“Our students get credentials and they can get gainful employment after graduation instead of going to college and going into debt. These kids can always go back to college no matter where they are,” said Vice Chancellor Jon Reising.
“It gives me a great opportunity to get into college and everything. I feel like I can really achieve my goals,” Saud said.
Students who meet all requirements needed to meet state standards may also take these courses.
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