The Puratos Bakery School Foundation and Puratos US opened their first US Bakery School this week, in Pennsauken, New Jersey. The program, in partnership with Pennsauken High School, introduces students to baking in hopes that it will create future careers in the industry. The school received the top honour in workforce development from the IBIE 2022 Best in Baking awards.
This marks the first Bakery School in the US for Puratos and its seventh international location. The new school has 59 students which makes it the largest Bakery School to date, who have access to specially trained faculty and state-of-the-art classrooms.
In the opening of the school, Puratos executives and local leaders including Ingrid Baty, Chair of the Bakery School Foundation, Congressman Donald Norcross and Jessica Rafeh, Mayor of Pennsauken were part of the festivities and toured the facility.
“We are thrilled to have the next Bakery School located at Pennsauken High School, just steps from our US headquarters,” said Andy Brimacombe, President at Puratos US & Pennant Ingredients. “We see a need in skilled talent to fill leadership positions in bakeries and baked goods manufacturing throughout the country. The impact these students can have on our industry and we on their futures is expontential.”
The Bakery School Foundation program is a “proven path”, according to the company, for high schoolers to a career in the baking industry. It will provide opportunities for young people in the region and introduce more skilled baking expertise into an industry that needs a “sustainable pipeline of talent”.
“Educators across the country are seeing the benefits of skills-based learning programs,” explained Dr. Ronnie Tarchichi, Superintendent at Pennsauken Schools. “We see higher graduation rates in CTE students, and comparable lifetime incomes to students who go on to earn bachelor’s degrees. This partnership with Puratos US, and the program they have developed, will create incomparable opportunity for our students.”
The program, which takes place over a four year period, consists of 1600 hours of classwork in disciplines of bakery, patisserie and chocolate, equipping students with the skills necessary for immediate employment, as well as a Certificate in Baking & Pastry, and an industry recognised certification from the Retail Bakers of America.
Students will be provided with hands-on experience, at Puratos sites and at industry partner plants and bakeries. Industry experts will be invited to give guest lectures, and field trips and work sessions will introduce students to the professional baking world and provide them with the opportunity to apply real-life applications.
Since the initiative was first launched in 2016, Puratos has opened six Bakery Schools internationally, the US making its seventh. Locations include India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Romania and the Philippines. In the last six years, 258 students have graduated and in 2022, 357 will be enrolled in Puratos Bakery Schools. By 2030, Puratos aims to have 1000 young people in its Bakery Schools.
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Editor, International Bakery
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