Project Reach, a culinary arts vocational skills training program for students with significant learning difficulties, kicked off its first session at Berkshire Community College (BCC) on Monday, September 19.
Project Reach is a pilot program designed to help students gain employability skills in basic knife skills, cooking and baking techniques, weights and measures, kitchen sanitation and kitchen safety. Project Reach classes are held every Monday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM through October 31st. At the end of the six week course, participants will be awarded certificates of completion.
In designing the program, Pamela Farron, Coordinator of the Disability Resource Center at BCC, Audrey Sussman, adjunct instructor in the Culinary Arts program at BCC, and Constance West, Director of Special Services at Central Berkshire Regional School District, recognized that traditional college instruction, even with much tutorial support, may be unmanageable for students with significant learning difficulties. At the same time, students may wish to further their vocational skills and have the same social opportunities that other young adults have at the college level. Project Reach provides a transitional skills training experience within its own unique curriculum for students from CBRSD using the instructors and facilities of the college. While at the college, Project Reach students also have the opportunity to participate in the extra-curricular life of the college.
"Project Reach provides the students with a postsecondary educational experience, offers increased independence and the ability to earn a competitive wage," said Farron.
Project Reach is a non-credit, pilot program offered through the Office of Workforce Development at Berkshire Community College with the support of a grant from Partnerships in Employment - A division of Berkshire County Arc. Students and parents need to be aware that enrollment in credit-earning college courses is an entirely separate process from Project Reach, a community services offering at BCC.
For more information on Project Reach at BCC, please contact Pamela Farron in the Disability Resource Center at 413-499-4660 Ext. 1608 or firstname.lastname@example.org.