Johnson County Community College: Two Kansas Community Colleges Partner to Offer Expanded Culinary Training

Chris Gray
Member Spotlight

Johnson County Community College (JCCC) has partnered with Butler Community College (BCC) to offer expanded training in culinary arts. This opportunity allows JCCC to extend the benefits of its Chef Apprenticeship program to more Kansas students. In turn, the collaboration strengthens state and local workforce opportunities.

Through this agreement, BCC is offering two additional certificates to students in South Central Kansas. The new certificate options use existing BCC culinary courses with the addition of practicum courses from JCCC. Along with invaluable industry training, students in both culinary programs also earn an Associate of Applied Science degree.  

Eligible BCC students will dual enroll each semester, continuing their course of study at BCC while being enrolled in JCCC’s culinary arts practicum courses. The requirement for each practicum course is that students register with the Department of Labor and work in the Wichita area under an American Culinary Federation (ACF)-qualified chef who supervises their on-the-job apprentice training. Once the coursework is complete from both institutions, BCC students will be qualified to sit for ACF’s practical and written exams to become a certified culinarian or sous chef. This achievement demonstrates the attainment of a high degree of culinary skills and knowledge to future employers.

“As higher education leaders work to create a stronger Kansas through collaboration, joining in this effort with Butler Community College allows JCCC to share in the work of strengthening multiple communities and providing educational opportunities for students that span our great state,” said Dr. Mickey McCloud, JCCC Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer. “Sharing expertise and programming with our colleagues at Butler is something that we believe is vital for the future of higher education in Kansas.”

JCCC’s Chef Apprenticeship program was the first to earn accreditation from the ACF Educational Institute—in 1979—and is currently the largest in the country. In this intensive three-year program, JCCC students learn the skills to become a leader in the professional kitchen. The program is sponsored by the ACF, Greater Kansas City Chefs Association, and U.S. Department of Labor.

“We’re delighted to partner with JCCC for the benefit of our Culinary Arts students,” said Dr. Kim Krull, President of Butler Community College. “Two of the state’s powerhouse culinary programs are collaborating to serve the two largest metropolitan areas in Kansas.”

According to the Kansas Department of Labor, employment data shows careers in the hospitality and food service industry are projected to grow 6 percent by 2026. Additionally, the median salary for chefs is estimated at $38,000 annually throughout the state. Upon graduation, students from both Chef Apprenticeship programs will have the training necessary to run kitchens in restaurants, country clubs, and hotels.

Lead image: Students receiving hands-on training in JCCC’s Chef Apprenticeship Program

Chris Gray is Vice President, Strategic Communication and Marketing, at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.

Opinions expressed in Member Spotlight are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.