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Expanded Culinary Arts Program will increase student opportunities

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Bon appetit!

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Texas Border Business

McAllen ISD will be increasing student opportunities for careers in culinary arts thanks to a program expansion beginning in fall 2020.

The course will serve more than 80 students in both the Career Technical Education and STRIDES programs.

A state-of-the-art culinary teaching lab will be constructed. There will even be a STRIDES Café where students will prepare and sell salad, soup, sandwiches, and desserts.

“The goal is to increase opportunities for all our students to earn viable industry certifications and real-world experience in a world-class facility that will lead to marketable skills for employment opportunities for our students and a well-trained labor force for our local and state hospitality industry,” McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D., said. “Our curriculum will focus, in part, on career preparation, safety, sanitation and business principles.” 

The Texas restaurant industry is responsible for more than $52.4 billion in sales in Texas and employs more than 1.2 million people, according to the Texas Restaurant Association. As per the Texas Labor Report, first-line supervisors, food preparation and serving workers are considered in-demand high-wage occupations with a growth rate of 28 percent in this area.

The culinary arts facilities will be based at Achieve Early College High School/Abraham Lincoln (1601 N. 27th St.) which is where both the CTE and STRIDES programs are housed.

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McAllen ISD’s CTE Program offers high school students more than 35 professional licenses and certification opportunities all aligned to 14 Career Clusters. Our mission is focused on improving academic and technical opportunities for students in high-wage, high-demand careers that include rigorous and relevant career preparation. CTE affords all students regardless of their career interest an opportunity to earn industry license certifications, opportunity for collaboration with business community members, and a college and career environment in all programs of study.

The McAllen ISD STRIDES Program is a new special education initiative for students who are 18-22 years old.  It began in fall 2019, serving more than 45 students and stands for Supported Transition and Road to Independence: Development and Employment for Students.

STRIDES students receive guidance and instruction toward independent living, can earn a professional certification and take courses that provide them with knowledge and skills for general employment. 

Currently, students can earn a professional certification in the following:

  • Floral Design
  • Photography
  • Cake Decorating

The McAllen ISD STRIDES program is conducted in partnership with South Texas College and Texas Workforce Solutions.

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