Puratos USA and the Bakery School Foundation have announced plans for a new baking school in Pennsauken, NJ, its first location in the United States. The program, in partnership with Pennsauken High School, will introduce students in the largely underprivileged community to baking in hopes of creating careers in the industry.
“We can make a real difference to the lives of young people and make an important contribution to our industry by establishing a Bakery School in Pennsauken, NJ, — the area in which Puratos US headquarters is located — and one of the most economically challenged boroughs in the State of New Jersey and country,” said Andy Brimacombe, president of Puratos USA. “We have the skill and the will to create a life-changing social contribution right here on our doorstep by providing a launchpad to a career path in the bakery industry for people who may otherwise not have the opportunity.”
This is the seventh school of its kind for the ingredient supplier, with other locations in India, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Romania, and South Africa.
Led by the Bakery School Foundation, the initiative began with the dual observation of an important community of underprivileged youngsters with little to no professional education, and the fact that the bakery, patisserie, and chocolate sectors are growing and lack well trained and qualified labor.
“We are in a good place, as Puratos, to help build career paths for the youth in our community,” said Brenda Fermin, research and development director at Puratos.
The Bakery School is a 4-year program that will offer flexible career pathways for students. Graduates will be equipped with the skills necessary for immediate employment in the bakery industry, or they can also choose to pursue further education and training. The program is the newest addition to Pennsauken High School’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, a workforce readiness initiative that includes a culinary arts program.
Students at the school will learn the fundamentals of baking, including pastry and chocolate-making, with a focus on practical and artisan skills.
“The program will provide students hands-on experience, whether at our sites or our industry partners’ plants or bakeries,” Ms. Fermin said. “We will have industry guest-expert lectures, field trips, and work sessions to show them real-world applications of what they are learning at the bakery school.”
The bakery school will be available to students starting Sept. 2022.