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Plans for NECC Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center are Progressing

Submitted by on October 16, 2017 – 6:15 pm

CARL RUSSO/Staff photo. Alan Boisvert, former owner of Keon’s 105 Bistro in Haverhill, Watches executive chef, Rob Giallongo prepare Pan Seared Scallops. Boisvert is one of several local restaurant owners who are advising Northern Essex Community College in planning for a new culinary arts training program. 4/5/2017

Recently, the Massachusetts House and Senate rolled over the $1 million in funding that Northern Essex Community College needs to move forward with plans to create a Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center in downtown Haverhill.

Northern Essex President Lane Glenn credited Senator Katie O’Connor Ives, Representative Frank Moran, and former Representative Brian Dempsey for providing leadership in securing this funding.

“I’m thankful our state legislators recognize what a boon this will be to downtown Haverhill and to employers throughout the region,” said Glenn.  “We appreciate how hard they’re working to support this project.”

The $1 million in funding was originally a line item in the college’s FY17 budget but had to be pushed forward to FY18.

“This is an investment in our economy by providing a culinary education on a local level and diversifying the educational offerings at community colleges,” said Senator O’Connor Ives.

“This project is one of great importance to the Merrimack Valley.  It meets the needs of business owners, and we will be putting people to work once they complete the courses,” said Representative Moran.

The college received an additional $2 million in the FY18 budget ($1 million as a general line item and $1 million in higher ed capital funding) to secure a space for the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center and $150,000 in Workforce Skills Capital Grants to purchase equipment.  The college is also seeking private funding for the center which will have an approximate cost of $5 million.

The new facility will include culinary labs, a computer lab, classroom space, and multi-use function space and retail space in the downtown dining district of Haverhill.  The anticipated opening is the fall of 2018.

Glenn said the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) plans to announce a location for the new center this fall.

The college currently offers an Associate of Science Degree in Business Management: Hospitality Option and is planning to offer a Culinary Arts Certificate program.  These programs will address the growing workforce needs in the hospitality sector while providing students with experience in the field and career opportunities.

The college has been planning the center in partnership with Endicott College, Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, and Merrimack Valley employers.

Vo-tech students can take courses at Whittier or at NECC and receive concurrent credit enabling students to enter the program with 9 to 12 college credits, which puts them ahead academically with a tuition savings, too.

Under an evolving articulation agreement between NECC and Endicott College, students graduating from NECC’s Business Management: Hospitality Associate Degree program will transfer into Endicott’s bachelor’s program matriculating as a junior. Endicott is also developing plans to offer courses at the downtown Haverhill location.

Over the last year, Glenn has met with local restaurant owners and managers and received their input on key topics like career opportunities, curriculum content, and equipment.

Northern Essex will further spur job creation by making the kitchen available to entrepreneurs, small vendors, as well as local training providers.

For more information, contact George Moriarty, executive director, Center for Corporate & Community Education, or 978 556-3061.