Groot Bijgaarden / BE. (pnv) The Puratos Bakery School Foundation and Puratos U.S., member of Belgium’s Puratos Group, opened their first U.S. Bakery School at Pennsauken High School in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Already award-winning, the school received the top honor in workforce development from the IBIE 2022 Best in Baking Awards. The program, in partnership with Pennsauken High School, introduces students to baking in hopes of creating careers in the industry. This is the first Bakery School in the United States for Puratos and the seventh international location.
Fifty-nine students, the largest Puratos Bakery School class to date, were welcomed by the specially trained faculty into the custom designed, state-of-the-art classroom. During a grand opening celebration, each student received a chef coat in a White Coat Ceremony marking their induction into 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 joined in the festivities and toured the facility, which provides hands-on training for young people interested in careers in the baking industry.
«We are thrilled to have the next Bakery School located at Pennsauken High School, just steps from our U.S. headquarters,» said Andy Brimacombe, president, Puratos U.S. + 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 exponential.»
The Bakery School Foundation program is a proven path for high schoolers to a career in the baking industry. The new facility and program in Pennsauken High School will provide life-changing 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,» said Dr. Ronnie Tarchichi, superintendent, 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.»
Seamlessly integrated into the high school curriculum, the four-year program consists of 1,600 hours of classwork in the disciplines of bakery, patisserie and chocolate and equips students with the skills necessary for immediate employment, as well as a Certificate in Baking + Pastry and an industry-recognized certification from the Retail Bakers of America. The program will provide students hands-on experience, both at Puratos sites and at industry partner plants and bakeries. Additionally, industry experts will be invited to give guest lectures, and field trips and work sessions will introduce students to the professional baking world, allowing them to see and explore real-life applications of their learnings.
The Bakery School initiative is part of the company’s global commitment to making life changing social contributions that move the planet forward and support future generations. Since launching this initiative in 2016, Puratos has opened six Bakery Schools across the globe. Locations include India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Romania and the Philippines. In 2022, 357 students will be enrolled in a Puratos bakery school, on their way to becoming professional bakers. The bakery schools have graduated 258 students to-date.
By 2030, Puratos hopes to have 1,000 young people in its schools, on the way to achieving their career aspirations.