Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
FRESH START staff director Kathy Watson, center and instructors Matt Patterson and Rainbow Trosper. The staff served a recent meal to Hood River Rotary in the program’s home, the kitchen at Riverside Community Church.
In a unanimous vote, the Curriculum Committee at Columbia Gorge Community College approved the college’s first non-credit certificate of completion for training offered by the off-campus Fresh Start Culinary Arts Program.
If approved by the state Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, the certificate can be awarded to Fresh Start students completing instruction beginning in fall term this year, according to a press release from CGCC.
Fresh Start, a nonprofit serving students from throughout the four-county Columbia Gorge region, began providing training this spring out of the commercial kitchen at Riverside Community Church in Hood River.
Its program, designed to prepare students for entry-level cooking jobs in restaurants and institutional kitchens, provides more than 400 hours of training during each 12-week session. Its program is listed among continuing education offerings in the college class schedule.
Suzanne Burd, adult continuing education coordinator at the college, said the certificate is among a handful that have been endorsed and submitted for approval by other Oregon community colleges.
Until passage of House Bill 2410 in the last Oregon Legislature, community colleges could not award certificates for non-credit courses offered through their continuing education departments (sometimes called “community ed”).
“Fresh Start graduates will soon qualify for certification in Food Prep for the Food Service Industry and Food Safety and Sanitation,” Burd said.
The legislation allowing non-credit training certificates set up a work group representing community colleges from throughout Oregon. That group set up a system of training and testing standards, and institutional review for non-credit certificates.
The CGCC Curriculum Committee includes 13 faculty and staff members, and has primary responsibility to review and ensure the integrity of all courses offered by the college.
Burd said she hopes to secure certification for several other programs that the college has been offering. Those include Basic Electricity for Industrial Maintenance Workers, Leadership Skills for the High-Performance Workplace, and Realizing Your Potential.