District of Columbia school officials and managers from some of the city's leading hotels lunched yesterday on quiche Lorraine and stir-fried vegetables prepared by D.C. school students training to become professional cooks and chefs.
The lunch, attended by more than 200 guests at the Burdick Vocational School, 1300 Allison St. NW, officially launched a new culinary arts program, a joint venture between the city school system and the local hotel industry to train students for jobs in the city's hotel industry.
Sixteen high school students have been enrolled in the program since September.Yesterday's lunch was to publicize the course as part of one of the school system's initiatives to involve business groups in sponsoring a series of career development programs. The courses are designed to groom students for specific careers, while they continue to study traditional academic subjects.
"Upon successful completion of the 26-week program they are virtually guaranteed a job," said school Superintendent Floretta D. McKenzie. "We have to be careful that when we train that the opportunities are there and this is one program where we feel strongly that the jobs will be there," she said. McKenzie said later that the private groups had not promised to hire the students graduating from the program, but that she was nevertheless optimistic because of the business support for the program.
The D.C. Private Industry Council, which is a local business group, and the local hotel industry are paying nearly $53,000 of the $87,256 needed to operate the program in its first year.
The class also includes 10 weeks of paid on-the-job training in kitchens of major local restaurants and hotels.