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Mott Community College Recipe for Success: Culinary School Scheduled to Move Downtown

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As Flint is developing, downtown is welcoming innovative and hot ideas for the future. And what’s hotter than a culinary kitchen? Mott Community College (MCC) is turning a vacant 36,000-square-foot building on 550 S. Saginaw St. into a focal point of culinary enrichment.

The idea for this project stemmed from the projected 1.7 million national increase of jobs in the restaurant industry by the year 2025. Therefore, it was time to expand and move the program off of the college’s main campus. I spoke to communication specialist Dawn Hibbard from MCC and she discussed the importance of this upcoming project.

“Expanding our program will enable the college to help meet the growing demand for highly skilled employees. Additionally, the college feels strongly about its role as an economic driver in the community. The restoration of a dilapidated building into a state-of-the-art culinary institute will help create a vibrant destination for all of Flint and Genesee County,” said Hibbard.

MCC Culinary Institute’s target time is to be open and ready for classes and customers by the beginning of the 2018 fall semester. This is dependent on the renovation being completed within the scheduled time. If it is not ready by then, than the next targeted opening is the beginning of the winter of 2019 semester in January.

“The building will house two culinary arts teaching kitchens, two bakery and pastry arts teaching kitchens, a meat fabrication teaching laboratory, a garde mangér classroom, a fine dining space connected to a baked goods café, and a large, dividable meeting space to teach all aspects of the food service industry to MCC students,” said Hibbard.

Now, the question is why is this particular space going to be the hub of culinary and academic growth? Hibbard believes that the new location gives the school expansion.

“Relocation to this site would enable MCC to expand the culinary arts curriculum, expand the program’s student-operated restaurant service to include the baked goods café, and support community events in the downtown area. A larger facility will enable MCC to increase the culinary arts program capacity to educate more students and bring new students to the area, creating secondary economic impact,” said Hibbard.

Currently, the college offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, Culinary Arts and Food Services Management. The new space will give MCC’s culinary school a projected boost in enrollment from 250 to 500 students, and allow the college the opportunity to start offering a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts.

“I believe moving the culinary institute to the downtown area will be beneficial to the program in multiple ways; it will enable the college to add more classes that we currently do not have the space to offer, thus expanding the skills and experiences available to our students. Secondly, it will give the students more real-world experience dealing with customers through the Applewood Café and the new bakery café, better preparing them for careers in the restaurant industry.

“And finally, it will integrate the college more deeply into the general community, increasing understanding of the role community colleges play in preparing students for the twenty-first century economy. And yes, I am excited to see this new venture unfold, although I am a little sad that Applewood Café won’t be just a few steps away when lunch time rolls around,” said Hibbard.

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