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In the Spotlight

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spotlight on: Culinary Arts - Restaurant Management

“You can love what you do as a chef, but as a manager of a business, you need to be profitable to pay the bills and pay your employees,” says Instructor Bill Jolly of the Culinary Arts Program. Students in his courses learn about nutrition, business law, accounting, and marketing – from promoting your product and getting the word out, all the way down to how you’re writing your menu: Garden fresh! Sautéed versus Fried.

The Culinary Arts Program is five quarters, broken into two certificates, one in restaurant management, taught by Bill Jolly, and the other in culinary, taught by Dean Massey. The complex business of running a restaurant as well as high-end cooking entails learning a vast array of skills to be successful in the world of epicurean endeavors.

People who come into the program may not consider the business aspect of their love of cooking, and as Bill says, “They usually kind of cry when they’re on this side of the curriculum.” Working at a desk, learning how to cost-out recipes and product, checking inventory, and learning the front of the house (waiting tables and management) is completely different from the environment of the kitchen, which is fast-paced, changing, doing.

There’s a lot of prep that goes into opening a restaurant. For example, Bill takes the future managers out to check the parking lot and the walkway (to be sure they’re swept). They wash windows inside and out, dust the blinds, polish silverware, and check for spots on the glassware. They iron the tablecloth linens and napkins. Everything needs to be spotless. Anything the guest sees, the manager needs to see – including the state of the bathroom. Haven’t we all been there, telling your server they’re out of toilet paper?

Students take a turn at being a server in the dining room and each is assigned a section. They have to detail their tables just prior to the restaurant opening, and care is taken so that even the flowers on all the tables face the door.

If there’s a water spot, Bill turns the glass upside down, signaling that it needs to be re-polished. He also checks the vases, the silverware. And salt and pepper shakers?

“If I can see daylight through the shaker, that’s not good,” Bill says, “so I’ll go through and clink them so the grains fall and it’s obvious whether they’re full. I’m happy at that point in their training when I can hear students clinking the shakers together.” Bill chuckles. “Okay, I’ve done my job, I hear clinking.”

Graduates of the program who are trained to have such attention to detail are more valuable to an employer both in terms of being more desirable to hire and also when promotions become available. Such high-quality training prepares graduates for anything from a mom-n-pop operation to fast food, to family dining, all the way up to a fine dining establishment or running their own business.

Students learn to write job descriptions, employee evaluations, and an opening and closing check list (part of what will go into their business plan). They learn food cost management, that is, converting from metric to U.S. standard and back again…if someone is using wine to cook a dish, which comes in liters and milliliters, it must be converted.

When chefs create recipes, everything needs to be measured and weighed to gauge what percentage of the supplies they’re using and how much that percentage costs. Then they must figure out how many portions there are in a recipe to determine the cost per portion. And finally, a chef needs to know what the mark-up is to figure out what the price of the item on a menu should be – and that translates into the restaurant’s profit.

There are several layers to their final in the course. Students must create a bar menu with matching food and present it to Bill as the manager or owner of the restaurant. They also study catering for a quarter, and for their final, students need to do a full catering job, complete with cake, flowers, color scheme, service, complete décor, kitchen lay-out, the full schematics, and a catering contract, which they present to Bill, as their client. For example, for a 50th birthday for a man, they did a Rocky Balboa theme, first watching the movie, taking copious notes, then doing a huge breakfast buffet, which, of course, allows all of their creativity to come into play. Creative talent and business savvy go hand-in-hand in a career that appeals to foodies.

The final in the last quarter includes a business plan, what they would present at a bank to get a loan to start their own business. Talk about being prepared to launch into your career!

Anyone can come to the Rainier Room, Building 31, for lunch Wednesday through Friday, 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended. To view the current menu and the specials menu (which rotates every two weeks) go to www.tacomaculinary.com and make your reservation. Bon appétit!

Dianne Bunnell
Clover Park Technical College

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Opening Day Update to College Community

Emergency Preparedness
September 2010

Clover Park Technical College takes very seriously the need for continual emergency preparedness training, ongoing investments in emergency communications technology, and regular communication within the College about the need for emergency preparedness.

In conjunction with our Opening Day speaker, we thought it would be appropriate to share some of the progress that has been made toward emergency preparedness as well as a checklist to take with you for future personal and classroom preparedness.

Below is a quick summary of the College’s efforts to date regarding emergency preparedness:
All Hazards Committee (convened 2006): Led by Carol Orr and Mike Anderson to update College emergency preparedness policies. The complete policy can be found online at the College’s preparedness site, www.cptc.edu/prepare.

Emergency Communications: CPTC Alert is the College’s instant notification system that is up and running with 552 staff and faculty in the system and 460 students enrolled. The Alert system is now synchronized with the College’s website for communication consistency.
An emergency communications team comprised of College Relations, Information Technology, and Facilities is now in place to get critical incident information out to the College community.
All College emergency preparedness information is on the college prepare website: www.cptc.edu/prepare.

Executive Training: The College Cabinet is now trained in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) –Incident Command Systems levels 100 and 200. All Cabinet members also have emergency “go kits” intended to get the College through the first critical minutes of any emergency.

Health and Safety: During the 2009-10 flu season, the College Cabinet, All Hazards Team, and Facilities led the funding and dissemination of hand sanitizers and antibacterial wipes across the campus.

Coordination with Police and Fire: In August, the College signed both Mutual-Aid Agreements and Shelter-In-Place Agreements with the City of Lakewood and the Lakewood Police Department.

Future training: The College is working with Lakewood Police to be engaged in an “active shooter” response exercise as well as with Lakewood Fire to plan a fire drill. In addition, the All Hazards Committee will be identifying building co-captains who will receive additional emergency training.

Personal preparedness checklist:

1. Do you know how to lock/barricade your classroom/office doors and windows in the event of a lockdown?

2. Do you know at least two ways out of your area?

3. Have you discussed with your students where to evacuate to in the event of an emergency?

4. Do you and do your students have a personal emergency kit in your work area or car?

5. Do you have a way to communicate with loved ones when cell phone networks are overloaded (ie: long distance relative/email)

6. Do you know how to recommend disturbing student behaviors to the college Behavioral Intervention Team on campus?

7. Have you updated all of your cell/voicemail information on CPTC Alert?

See ideas - White House Summit on Community Colleges

Dr. Jill Biden will host the first ever White House Summit on Community Colleges. The summit is an opportunity for community colleges, faculty, businesses, policymakers, and students to discuss the importance of community colleges in training the nation’s evolving workforce, and their role in achieving the President’s 2020 college completion goal.

You don’t have to wait until the summit to share your ideas with the White House. They want to hear your thoughts, questions and challenges. To do so, you can submit your ideas and comments in one of six categories that will be discussed at the summit or vote on the ideas submitted by others.

Click here for a list of ideas that have been submitted: http://communitycollege.ideascale.com/

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Clover Park Technical College Nominated for Second National Award

The Brownfields Job Training program at Clover Park Technical College has been nominated for the Community College Futures Assembly’s Bellwether Award.

The Brownfields program, which provides no-cost environmental training to low-income residents, represents a successful, longstanding partnership between the College, the City of Tacoma, Workforce Central and the Metropolitan Development Council.

The current training is funded through a $500,000 federal stimulus grant. Over the past eight years, over $1 million in grant funding has been leveraged to support the program.

The Bellwether Awards were established to recognize outstanding programs that are at the forefront of innovation throughout the United States and Canada and are sponsored by the Community College Futures Assembly, sponsored by the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida. Now in its 15th year, the Assembly convenes annually as an independent national policy forum both for key opinion leaders to work as a “think tank” in identifying critical issues facing the future of community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether Finalist colleges as trend-setting institutions.

Earlier this year, Clover Park Technical College became the first technical college and the first college from Washington State to win the MetLife Community College Excellence Award. MetLife recognized the Brownfields partnership for its outcomes in placing nearly 80% of graduates into jobs, a rate that has held steady in spite of continuing economic struggles. Clover Park would be the first college from Washington to be honored with a Bellwether Award. Recent winners from the Western United States include Linn-Benton Community College in Oregon and Rio Hondo Community College in California.


Bellwether Award:

MetLife Community College Excellence Award:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Get involved - White House Summit on Community Colleges

We want Americans across the country to submit their thoughts, questions and challenges for discussion as part of the summit dialogue. There are a number of ways to participate:

  • Submit a Video. How has the community college experience affected your life? Please let us know by submitting your stories via YouTube or our webform.
  • Join the Dialogue. We’ve set up an online dialogue to bring together community college administrators, students and stakeholders from around the country to discuss these ideas.
  • Plan an Event. You can host a group or watch the live webcast of the plenary session of the summit on October 5. Much of the day’s content will be available online here at whitehouse.gov, and it will be a unique opportunity to be a part of this important and ongoing discussion.

Community colleges are the largest part of America’s higher education system enrolling more than 8 million students each year. Last year, President Obama proposed the American Graduation Initiative to usher in a series of new innovations and reforms to expand and strengthen opportunities at America’s community colleges.

Content from http://www.whitehouse.gov/communitycollege

Community Engagement Forum- Tacoma, WA

When: Tuesday, October 12, 2010
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Where: The Evergreen State College-Tacoma Campus
Great Hall Auditorium
1210 6th Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98405

On October 12, 2010 Alberto Retana, Director of Community Outreach for the U. S. Department of Education, will host a forum for community and community groups. Alberto will engage the attendees in a discussion on the Department’s proposal to address equity and how federal support for family and community involvement improves schools and academic achievement. Attendees will have an opportunity to share ideas about how communities, parents, students, and families can drive and support change in schools.

Retana’s visit to Tacoma is part of a national outreach effort to shed a spotlight on courageous and successful efforts to close the achievement gap and advance the President’s 2020 College Completion Goal. He is visiting cities throughout the United States where he will help organize nationally coordinated service activities and events, hold 9 youth forums with high school students, visit local schools and community based organizations, and meet with local community members.

Please invite others that may be interested. Thanks and hope to see you there.

Alberto Retana's Bio

RSVP to Linda Pauley at (206) 607-1655 or Linda.Pauley@ed.gov.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hybrid Vehicle Repair

Clover Park Technical College is the only college in Washington State that offers a course in hybrid vehicle repair training that works with a variety of hybrid vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles (such as diesel, compressed natural gas, and hydrogen).

The driving force behind the inception of this course, which was offered for the first time during summer quarter, 2010, is Instructor Wayne Bridges. Wayne has been with the College over 20 years. The Automotive Hybrid Program is one of those showcases that put the College on the cutting edge of sustainable green careers that are more and more in demand in today’s world.

Gary Covington, another automotive technician instructor, has had training in this area as well, and so the momentum is building and the institution is geared up for meeting the demand of a relatively new field.

“The dream of teaching such a course,” Wayne states, “has been going on for about six years.” A group of instructors went to Dayton, Ohio, to the very first hybrid training class, which was funded by the National Science Foundation. The class was open to only 50 instructors in the entire world. Wayne was one of the 50 chosen to attend this program. Wayne says, “My goal is to have the premiere hybrid program on the planet here at Clover Park Technical College.”

The College has been fortunate to receive five vehicles that have been in accidents donated to its fleet by State Farm Insurance Company: three operating Prius (one has been dismantled for training aids), a Honda Civic hybrid, and a Ford Escape hybrid. The Escape is parked down at one end of the large bay. A Sawzall was used to cut off the roof because it was crushed all the way down to the seats. However, with only 1,000 miles on the car, it runs like a top, allowing students to get hands-on training.

The first class on hybrid vehicle repair was launched during the 2010 summer quarter.
“I’ve broken the curriculum into specific sections, to allow me to pull out, say, a Toyota section to teach. Eventually, I’d like to offer smaller modules in a continuing education format, in addition to this more intensive course of study, Monday through Friday, for six hours every day,” says Wayne. This will allow technicians who are already employed full-time the ability to attend classes at a time that meshes with their work schedule.

The training will also be embedded in the College’s traditional automotive program to the degree that all students will leave with some basic understanding of safety requirements and general knowledge of working with such vehicles.

The systems of hybrid, electric, or alternative-fueled vehicles are quite different from traditional vehicles. Any time the wheels are turning on the Prius, for example, it is producing 500 volts three phase AC with over 60 amps. The Toyota Highlander hybrid is 650 volts, three phase AC.

Wayne stands by while a student opens the hood of a car and dons thick high voltage gloves. Prior to every time the gloves are put on, they are tested with air for any holes (even as small as a pin prick), and the gloves are good for only six months, at which time they must be recertified.

Dealing with high voltage means a large part of instruction is devoted to safety. The gloves students wear are rated to 1,000 volts and the tools they use are insulated for 1,000 volts. There’s an insulated hook that Wayne calls his “technician disconnect tool,” so that if a student is “arching and sparking,” there’s a way to safely pull the student away from the source of electrical shock. Chance of happening? Slim to none.

“Having been dealing with these vehicles for a number of years now, I can say that as long as you work the way you’ve been trained and you have a healthy respect for the power source, there are no issues,” says Wayne. “In the real world, typically, we would take out a high voltage battery and put it back in, without accessing the inside.”

With the heightened interest by the public in alternative fuels and the resultant increase in sales of hybrid vehicles (remember when buyers were faced with a waiting list for a new hybrid just a few short years ago?), as well as the new all-electric vehicles, there will be a growing market for qualified technicians.

“I think it’s a great program. It definitely should be continued for the year,” says student Chris Rodriguez. “I’ve learned a lot about hybrids, and I think I’m one of the few people around who’ve had certified hybrid training. Good for job prospects. I can go to any dealership and I’m a lot more valuable because of this program.”

Clover Park Technical College has made a commitment to sustainability in many of its programs, and this is the latest in a series of courses that have taken the leap into the “wild, green beyond,” benefiting society in general and benefiting the graduate in terms of carving out a niche and improving marketability in a down economy.

And speaking of the wild green beyond, an arrangement was recently confirmed to take at least some of the waste cooking oil from the Culinary Arts Program and campus Food Services to produce bio-diesel that will be used to fuel the Maintenance Department’s diesel-powered equipment. Also, one of the by-products of making bio-diesel is glycerin. Wayne will be working with Instructor Denise Klug and the Cosmetology Program to make soap from the glycerin that can be used in that program. All of this fits nicely with the College’s sustainability goals by reducing waste and the costs associated.

Prerequisites for Automotive Hybrid courses are an auto tech degree or two years experience – and most technicians who have two years industry experience have ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification. The experience and certification are indicators of the groundwork that needs to be in place before entering the program.

Prospective students should get in touch directly with Instructor Wayne Bridges at (253) 589-5608 or wayne.bridges@cptc.edu to be sure their experience is sufficient to meet the requirements for the course.

Dianne Bunnell
Clover Park Technical College

Monday, September 13, 2010

Solar Training

Walking up to Bldg. 5, Residential Construction, I see a little house with the lights on, there’s a radio playing. Straining to hear, I wonder if it’s something like the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” No, that would be too coincidental.

It’s the Zero-Energy House, sustained by a solar array, that soaks up the sun and turns it into energy. Instructor Dan Smith explains, “Net zero energy means this solar shack, as we call it, produces as much energy as it uses. We have plans to use grant funding to build a larger version, between 800 and 1,000 sq. ft. It would have a classroom area where we could put on presentations for any college or group that wants to learn about zero energy and green, sustainable building. CPTC will be the ‘go to’ center in the area on sustainability.”
Sustainable Building Science Instructor Dan Smith (below, right) and Weatherization Instructor Josh Kolman will be teaching courses in the fall dealing with solar basics, which will include photovotaics (PV) and solar hot water. Both have participated in three months of training made available by the Department of Energy so that they could train others to install solar.

For those who would say, “Yeah, right, solar in Washington State…” The technology is feasible for the entire country, not just sunny locations such as Arizona. Josh explained, “The technology has come a long ways over the last 20 years and they can actually produce energy on less sunlight.”

The government offers rebates and there are energy incentives available to customers who have solar that can go toward paying for the system to be installed. In addition, the power companies buy power back from solar producers. Most utility companies participate in a net metering system or a rebate system. Puget Sound Energy, Puget Power, and Tacoma Power have a rebate system that starts out at 18 cents per kilowatt hour. Washington-made solar equipment, with an inverter, make the incentive go up a little more. With Washington-made solar equipment on your home, there’s a rebate of 54 cents per kilowatt hour. Not bad, considering you’re buying energy for around 6 to 8 cents per kilowatt hour.

A one-quarter class on solar basics will be offered in the fall for do-it-yourselfers to learn theory, orientation, design, and implementation of solar energy to their home. The class is also ideal for electricians who want to widen their repertoire. In fact, a homeowner may want to work collaboratively with an electrician or solar contractor to be sure the system operates in an efficient and safe manner.

Josh said, “And it doesn’t have to be a huge whole-house system. You can do a smaller system, such as a back-up for well pumps when inclement weather knocks out power and disables your well, for example. A small system can run a well pump and maybe pick up a few items like the lighting circuits or a couple of plug circuits, like for the fridge.”

Considering that such outages usually occur in the winter storm months, it’s reassuring to know that the battery system is capable of storing energy from sunnier times for use when there’s virtually no sunshine. Central Washington has an average of six peak hours of sun a day. Western Washington has about four hours, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you reside in Germany, they have 3.7 hours, and solar energy is huge there – the biggest in the world. Partly because of subsidies and partly because the Germans saw the transition to solar coming, it’s been a work in progress for 20 years.

It helps that the Obama administration is putting a lot of money into supporting sustainable alternative energy here in the U.S.

Dan and Josh walked me over to the side of the Zero Energy House and showed me the electrical apparatus that takes solar power and turns it into electricity.

Dan explained, “DC current is produced in the solar array, and then it’s brought over to a charge controller, which takes the DC current and puts it into a current that a bank of four large square batteries understands. It charges the batteries – right now we’re pushing 28 volts, in order to charge them up – then it goes into the inverter, which takes the DC current and inverts it to AC. From the inverter, the electricity goes to the AC subpanel, and from there it feeds the little Zero Energy House.” There’s more – grounding; volting; amperage; how to commission; turning it on, turning it off; how to isolate each part so that if you want to work on a part, you won’t be zapped – in a nutshell, that’s it.

Dan summed things up by saying, “While we’d be the first to tell you this class is important and timely, before you start checking into solar, remember: conservation before solarization. You can save yourself quite a bit on your electrical bill by using less hot water, investing in adequate insulation to prevent heat loss, and otherwise conserving to use less energy.”

Dianne Bunnell
Clover Park Technical College

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New South Hill Campus Photos

Check out new South Hill Campus Photos on Facebook. www.cptc.edu/facebook

Change of careers: Profiles of 8 people who took a risk and followed their dreams

A car salesman becomes an electrician. A contractor becomes an explosives disposal expert. A priest becomes a nurse, and a professional soccer star becomes an English teacher. Jobs change and lives change


Great article in The News Tribune. Two of these successful students are from Clover Park Technical College.

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