Helping Culinary Students Grow With Career-Readiness Programs

C-CAP career-readiness programs

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics is forecasting that the opportunities for chefs and cooks will grow 10 percent from now until 2026, faster than the average of all occupations. The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) is providing solutions for our labor shortage and staff retention problems by preparing a talented pipeline of young achievers to succeed in the workplace.

C-CAP career-readiness programs
Niyah Rivers from Food and Finance High School intern at Hart’s

The programs for high school students allow them to become aware of, explore, and participate in opportunities that connect their culinary arts studies in the classroom to the workplace. Our career-readiness programs, including one-day job shadows, week-long chef boot camps, or months-long internships in a restaurant. These programs build a foundation for students so that by high school graduation, they are equipped to make informed decisions about their next steps and look forward to what the future of the industry holds for them.

Here’s a snapshot of the career-readiness programs that students participated in this past school year:

  • Food & Finance High School (FFHS) students who are enrolled to work culinary internships during the school day participated in Workplace 101: Transition from student to intern (employee), work standards and expectations, communication and attitude, intern’s professionalism and responsibilities.  In addition, Job Training was held last fall at FFHS. It was one Job Training workshop that C-CAP spearheaded; FFHS independently offered multiple classes led by FFHS Program Director Eliza Loehr throughout the semester.
  • C-CAP served as network intermediary for the Career & Technical Education Industry Scholars Program (CTEISP) for the second year. The program supports high school students who have selected Culinary as a career pathway by providing valuable work-based learning activities comprised of industry-specific internships and a variety of career activities aimed at helping students apply their skills in professional settings while gaining work experience. C-CAP worked with 11 schools and connected 133 students who successfully completed their internships.
  • C-CAP career-readiness programs
    Summer Job Training at Institute of Culinary Education: getting advice from C-CAP alumnus, Efren Razo who is sous-chef at BarBacon.

    C-CAP offered Job Training, multi-day workshops with support from Food & Finance High School and Long Island City High School, serving 54 students during the 2017-18 academic school year. Of the group of students, many accepted and completed internships.

  • In addition to the Job Training held at high schools, C-CAP conducted training with the generous donation of kitchen and classroom space at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). Thirty-seven students were welcomed and received advice from President & CEO, Rick Smilow and Vice President, Richard Simpson; career advisement from Director of Career Services, Maureen Drum-Fagin; Chef David Waltuck and Chef Frank Proto. On the last day of Job Training, students implemented the job seeking skills learned by participating in the Internship Open Call where they were pre-screened and interviewed with leaders from Union Square Hospitality Group, Tao Group, Gerber Group, Starr Restaurants, BR Guests/Landry’s, and Marcus Samuelsson Group. Job training students continued to interview with industry partners who C-CAP connected during the weeks after training.
  • C-CAP career-readiness programs
    Chef Pasquale Cozzlino, Chef Feliberto Estevez with C-CAP community of students during the tour of Gracie Mansion

    Following Job Training, students were invited to tour Gracie Mansion with Deputy Executive Director, Melissa Browne, Senior Executive Chef Feliberto Estevez, and Chef Pasquale Cozzlino. Chef Estevez invited students to work with him and his team at various Heritage Celebrations that the Mayor hosts to highlight the diversity of New York City’s many heritage groups.

Winter Fancy Food Show November 2018 728×90

Throughout the Job Training and Internship programs, C-CAP provides ongoing support to ensure students’ success: practicing, reinforcing and reflecting on job training fundamentals.

C-CAP career-readiness programs
Senior Executive Chef Feliberto Estevez with Nelly Tobon who shadowed the chef at one of the Heritage Celebration events

Highlighting other C-CAP career-readiness programs offered to culinary high school students from across the five boroughs during school that align with their education and career goals:

  • The students’ benefit from Job Shadow days with Compass Group offered in the fall and spring, 70 students participated and worked alongside professionals to support front- and back-of-house roles throughout Manhattan corporate facilities dining accounts. Elior North America hosted a full-day workshop at New York Botanical Gardens. Chefs and Human Resources team addressed the students, focusing on career-readiness skills that are critical to job success. Four students were selected to shadow in kitchens at NYBG and Caffe Storico.
  • Hilton Millenium at One UN Plaza delivered an educationally rich experience with a look at its hotel history to 13 students who were given a tour of the property, lunch at Ambassador Grill & Lounge, culminating with shadowing managers from Human Resources, Sales, Finance, Front Office, and Food & Beverage. Leadership team spent the afternoon encouraging students to pursue their aspirations and shared their own career trajectory.
  • Café Boulud provided a tour, culinary demo, conversations with Chef Aaron Bludorn and General Manager Cherif Mbodji over lunch in the exclusive private dining room
  • Peaches Shrimp & Crab hosted first-year culinary students with entrepreneurial aspirations get advice from Craig Samuel, B+C Restaurants
  • Pierre Hotel provided a tour and presentation by Executive Chef Ashfer Biju
  • C-CAP career-readiness programs
    Wendy Molina from Long Island City High School pastry intern at Flora Bar

    Rainbow Room provided a tour, tasting and presentation by Executive Chef Mathew Woolf

  • Showcase of the Stars presented by the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance as an interactive career exploration event for high school students to discover characteristics that leading companies seek when hiring employees. 217 students participated in the event designed to bring awareness to the diverse group of students who wish to pursue food-related careers.

“Both of our interns became critical members of our teams and we have been so proud of their progress,” said Nick Perkins, executive chef at Hart’s and Cervo’s.


To learn more about C-CAP’s career-readiness programs, visit their website

Joyce Appelman
Joyce Appelman is the National Communications Director for C-CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program in New York, NY. She has been instrumental in opening career opportunities for many young people in the foodservice industry. Email her at joyceappelman@gmail.com