$50,000 ARC grant equips teaching kitchens at Lackawanna College
SCRANTON, Pa. – Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management students at Lackawanna College have more of the tools they need to succeed.
Announced Monday, Feb. 29, the grant funding provided the equipment necessary to renovate another classroom into a second industrial-grade teaching kitchen at the College’s main campus in Scranton. ARC funding helped purchase items including a natural gas convection oven, reach-in freezer and refrigerator, all-purpose mixer, and more.
The project was recommended for ARC funding by the NEPA Alliance, a regional community and economic development group serving seven counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Office of Appalachian Development within the Department of Community and Economic Development.
“We’re very pleased to help this college and this community with community and economic development dollars from the Appalachian Regional Commission,” said NEPA Alliance President and CEO Jeffrey K. Box. “We know that the College is training kids for jobs that are here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
“We are proud to witness this investment in training that will provide real-world job outcomes,” added Bob Morgan, District Director for U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Moosic). “We believe projects like this lead to real-world opportunities that impact individuals in our district.”
Locally, the College’s Culinary Arts program has already proven its impact. Chef Stephanie Decker, Program Director for the Kiesendahl School of Hospitality and Tourism, said that the program has a 100% job placement rate, with nearly 90% of those graduates returning to work in the region.
Students have benefited from externships via the program’s growing list of valuable regional partnerships. The Culinary Arts program has produced many successful graduates who have continued their studies at a variety of prestigious institutions, including the Disney Professional Internship program, the Culinary Institute of America, and Johnson & Wales University.
“Because of this grant and the opportunities we provide to our culinary students, they are studying and working with top-of-the-line, cutting-edge equipment. We are forever grateful to you for that opportunity for them,” said Chef Stephanie Decker, Program Director of the Kiesendahl School of Hospitality and Tourism.
Grant funding helps the College mitigate the investment costs for programs including Culinary Arts without passing the burden of added tuition on to its students. It also supports Lackawanna’s ongoing mission to educate local residents and prepare them for jobs that provide a family sustaining wage.
“Having access to dollars like we do through NEPA Alliance, through the ARC, is critical to our ability to deliver these programs,” the president said.
Volk said the next expansion for the Culinary Arts program will create new teaching kitchens in one of the College’s recently purchased buildings in the 400 block of Adams Avenue. That expansion will also add new culinary-related degrees to Lackawanna’s offerings.