The Technical College of the Lowcountry has secured more than $8 million for a new culinary program; the Lowcountry Culinary Institute. It was an idea three years ago and recently received approval by council, according to a report by WJCL-Savannah.
The program will train culinarians in multiple industries including hospitality and healthcare. Students will be able to receive a variety of specialty certificates or an associates degree.
“We are so excited to partner with [the hospitality] industry and what we are creating is based on what they told us they needed,” said Leigh Copeland, Assistant Vice President of Marketing at the college.
Copeland said the local hospitality industry came to them asking for more trained culinarians.
“And they kept coming to us, which is exactly what they should do because as the community college, we are here to provide workforce training such as this.”
“A lot of them say they start these trained culinarian positions at $30,000 to $50,000 [salary] which is a great place to start. And of course, with time and experience, they can go further,” she explained.
The Beaufort County Council approved the $8 million project, the Beaufort County School District showed support and the Town of Bluffton gave $500,000 because the new building will be located in Buckwalter Place in Bluffton.
“We feel like it’s perfectly, centrally located for our service area. In addition, we are able to partner with developers…and that is really saving us and the taxpayers a lot of money.”
While students will get jobs and the industry will get employees, Copeland said the community will benefit from the new program as well.
“Not only in the hospitality industry will it keep customers satisfied, it will keep them coming back and it increases our tax base,” she said. “And of course, like when we go to dinner, it’s great to have top notch customer service.”
While the new program won’t start for another two years, the college said not to wait because they still offer culinary classes right now that will help people secure great jobs in the industry.
The Technical College of the Lowcountry will be holding a public meeting on February 8th at the New River campus in Bluffton officially announcing the new culinary program.