Affordability, Business Needs Drive Pulaski Tech Growth

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Jun. 21, 2010 12:00 am  

Hotle said he believed that, although the aviation industry was hurting, the resulting bad publicity had overshadowed the fact that jobs were still available in many places for qualified airplane mechanics.

"The jobs are there; you've just got to look for them," he said. "Our last graduating class, two of the guys within a week were in New York City working on helicopters, making 27 bucks an hour, and they're right out of school. If it's going to be a career, you've got to go where the career is."


Culinary Ambition

Pulaski Tech's Arkansas Culinary School originated as an apprentice program separate from the college. In January 2007, Pulaski Tech acquired the assets of the Arkansas Culinary Apprenticeship Program, Jones said. Enrollment went from 24 people to 150 in a year, quickly outgrowing the facilities. The school is now located at the south campus on Interstate 30. Students get real world kitchen experience cooking at the cafés at the south campus and the main campus in North Little Rock.

Because of the high interest in the culinary program, the school added a hospitality degree and other courses such as baking and wine and spirits.

"They spit," Jones said of the wine and spirits course. "They're doing this at 9 in the morning. It's a subtle sensory thing that some people can get and some can't."

Last spring, the culinary school received accreditation from the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation and the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration. It is the only school in Arkansas to be accredited by the ACFEF.

"We're proud because our graduates will come out with a level of accomplishment and an objective certification that is going to make them competitive with anyone in the country," Jones said.

Finding a job in the industry isn't a problem for graduates, said Renee Smith, assistant director of the culinary school.

"I get calls and e-mails from people in the industry - restaurants, hotels, country clubs, tourism attractions - every week looking for employees," Smith said.




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