Pasco School Districts’ Commercial Foods Academy
Special Award: Creating Community Partnerships
The commercial Foods Academy is a joint partnership between the City of Pasco and the Pasco School District. With some city funding and the use of the city-owned Pasco Specialty Kitchen, the academy trains Pasco High School students for careers in the Tri-Cities’ growing food processing industry.
The City of Pasco and the Pasco School District are working together to help prepare students for careers in the food processing industry. The Pasco Specialty Kitchen is a state-of-the-art Washington State Department of Agriculture and Benton-Franklin Health Department licensed commercial kitchen. It is also a USDA and Organic licensed commercial kitchen. Because of scheduling availability, the kitchen space is provided for the Pasco School Districts’ Commercial Foods Academy program.
The Commercial Foods Academy at the Pasco Specialty Kitchen opened for the 2005-2006 school year. It is one of the largest such programs in the United States. The commercial Foods Science portion of the academy is the first and only program of its kind in the state of Washington to be approved to receive career and technical education funding through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Academy delivers students a two semester hour integrated instructional block and is open to juniors and seniors. The Academy is team-taught by two instructors; one certified in 4-12 Science, and one certified in Career and Technical Education in Food Science. This is an excellent integration project demonstrating how student achievement can be raised by basic and career technical education working together. Forty students are enrolled. Depending upon student interest, additional two hour blocks can be added, helping to alleviate overcrowding at Pasco High School.
The first hour of instruction is a Commercial Foods Lab Science credit, focused on learning basic principles in food science, dietetics and nutrition.
The second hour is a Commercial Foods Applied Learning Lab, where students develop a food product to manufacture and market to the public. Students learn how to start a business, obtain permits and a business license, product labeling requirements and business record keeping. Career opportunities range from dietetics, nutrition, and food science, to food marketing, packaging and labeling and business ownership.
Students completing the program are prepared to pursue college training in Food Science/Dietetics/Human Nutrition or in Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
The Pasco City council has awarded the Pasco School District $30,000 in Community Development Block Grant Funds to help with Academy start-up costs. These funds provide financial support for science lab equipment, computer technology, kitchen rent and student transportation.
An Advisory Committee from business and industry has been formed to help guide the development of this program. Committee members represent food science, specialty food producers, small business owners and City of Pasco Department of Economic Development. This partnership of the City of Pasco and the Pasco School District helps develop qualified employees to work in our growing food technology industry and thereby a facet of our economic development effort for the Pasco and the Tri-Cities.