As part of the state-wide Students@Work initiative, business and industry guest speakers visited our middle school Career & Technical Education (CTE) classes Thursday to talk with students about careers and skills needed in today’s workforce.
Christine Mukosiej, Family and Consumer Science Teacher in the Culinary Arts Academy at Henderson County Career Academy, brought students Hannah and Skyler from her advanced culinary class to demonstrate baking skills to Apple Valley and Hendersonville middle students.
At Hendersonville Middle, 8th-grader Jaylon in Kelly McDermott’s life skills class jumped at the opportunity to help make no-bake cookies. He told Mukosiej that he enjoys cooking and loves sautéing – as well as eating sautéed food – but he gets nervous when it comes to prepping meals that requires boiling.
“You can learn!” said Mukosiej, who explained that her classes at the Career Academy cover kitchen safety, food preparation, baking, and food safety.
Hannah and Skyler showed students just how hands-on culinary arts classes can be, with photos of them blowtorching crème brûlée and making pasta from scratch. They also invited interested middle schoolers to apply to the brand new summer Culinary Institute, taught by Mukosiej in the Career Academy kitchen June 15-18.
A new addition to the CTE-focused summer programming for students interested in building specific career skills, the free Culinary Institute will begin taking applications from interested rising 7th-, 8th-, and 9th-graders Saturday. Over the four days, Mukosiej said the institute will cover baking basics, kitchen safety, and careers in culinary and hospitality, and will include visits from guest chefs and speakers.
“There are only 16 spots because my kitchen is only so big,” said Mukosiej. “I think it’ll fill up quick.”
Four Hendersonville Middle students immediately expressed interest in the Culinary Institute, including Madison, who said she enjoys cooking in McDermott’s class.
“I like that we get to explore a little bit and add our flair,” she said.
In addition to the culinary profession, guest speakers from the local banking, computer coding, architecture, engineering, robotics, nursing, and pharmacy industries spoke to 500 students in all four middle schools Thursday through the Students@Work event.
Students@Work is a project of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education in partnership with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. The project promotes career awareness and 21st century workplace expectations, to students, while connecting academics to the “real world.” Simultaneously, Students@Work aims to benefit businesses by engaging them with local students who could be potential employees, and allowing senior management to demonstrate the value of community service.