The Mercer County Technical School District launched an Academy of Culinary Arts in September 2016. The new full-time, 4-year high school program is located at the Arthur R. Sypek Center. Students will work toward the completion of Mercer County Community College credits and industry credentials while in high school. In addition to taking college courses while in high school, student learning will be enhanced through key business partnerships allowing for multiple workplace readiness and experiential learning opportunities.
The district's decision to focus on culinary arts is a direct result of occupational outlook data. Culinary arts falls under the career cluster of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism which has been identified as one of the fastest growing sectors in New Jersey. According to a Spring 2015 report by the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Food Service jobs are projected to continue creating the greatest number of new jobs (26,300) in the sector from 2012 - 2022. This 11.3% increase is more than the state's projected rate of 7.5%.
Any Mercer County 8th grader may apply. Interested candidates are encouraged to attend an information session to learn more. Applicants to the Academy of Culinary Arts may apply online in the fall of their 8th grade year.
The following criteria may be considered for admission: grades, attendance, counselor input, and standardized test scores. All students will be required to complete a Guest Day Visit. Any students who participates in a Guest Day Visit will be assessed on the following criteria: showing interest in program, staying on task, presenting a positive attitude, time management, asking appropriate questions, literacy/numeracy skills. A student may earn a total of 30 quality points. At the conclusion of the visit, the instructor will decide if the applicant should be recommended or not.