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LSCPA to start culinary program: Fall 2020 launch planned

Lamar State College Port Arthur is bringing a new program and degree under its diverse umbrella next year. The Associate of Applied Science Culinary Arts and Hospitality degree will be ready for enrollment in fall 2020.

Melissa Armentor, dean of technical programs, said the package came to the college as part of Port Arthur’s downtown revitalization plan.

“The decision to start the culinary arts and hospitality degree came about when we were approached by the Economic Development Cooperation,” she said. “They received a grant from the Economic Development Administration to redo the old Port Arthur News building.

“One of things they are doing is providing space for small businesses to develop. They approached us and said, ‘Hey, we got this space, what about starting this program?’ Of course we said yes because there’s a need for it.”

Lamar State College Port Arthur will inherit the downtown two-story building to begin renovating the space for culinary needs. The 10,000- to 12,000-square foot area will include a commercial kitchen, large classroom, offices and a bistro for students to sell the food it prepares.

“As a partnership and as an educational institution, we are more than happy enough to partner with anyone in the community who wants to help students succeed,” Armentor said.

The degree will include two certificates, a culinary arts foundation and culinary arts specialist certification. Students must have ServSafe certification at ServSafe.com before beginning course requirements.

“The great thing about these two certificates is that they are they are the first two semesters of the associate’s degree,” Armentor said. “Students will complete the first semester and get the foundation certificate and then complete the second semester for the specialist certificate.”

After receiving their certifications in the first two semesters, each student will then complete 10 courses and 31 hours of coursework to receive an associate’s degree.

“The degree starts off with safety and sanitation, basic food preparation, fundamentals of how to bake and then it progresses into the more in-depth courses like how to manage inventory, food and beverage ordering,” Armentor said. “As they go into the second year they’ll do things like nutrition, diet therapy and look at the whole health aspect.”

Armentor said the degree also includes general education courses such as how to write and public speaking.

“We have these classes because as a hospitality manager they need to know how to talk and interact with people,” she said. “They’ll take a class in American Cuisine and as we move forward there may be other specialist classes in different national cuisines.”

Armentor said since the idea of the program came to life, the department has been working with Port Arthur and Nederland school districts to provide dual-enrollment opportunities.

“Any new program is an asset to the college,” she said. “We start new programs mainly because there is a need in the community. There’s some sort of niche that needs to be filled.

“Right now, Port Arthur is growing. There is dollars being put into the Port Arthur area to help it grow. All of those things occurring are going to provide jobs for hospitality industry. If you have people, you have to have food.”

For more information, visit lamarpa,edu/cook or contact Sheila Guillot at guillsr@lamarpa.edu.