Secchia Institute Reconnects With American Culinary Federation (Photos)

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Judges deliberating over Daniel Flynn’s plates

GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education has revitalized its connection with the ACF, American Culinary Federation. This is the organization that bestows the official titles of Executive Chef, Master Chef, Executive Pastry Chef, Master Pastry Chef, Etc. in our country. It is also the organization that will be granting our renewed accreditation this year.

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This is the beginning to making SICE at GRCC an official Certification Site. We will now host this event four times per year. Locations such as this are highly sought after; chefs have come from all over Michigan and we have one chef that traveled from Pittsburgh to attempt his certification. This certification process can take several attempts for the executive chef level. Many do not succeed the first time.

Two of the candidates are our graduates:

  • Daniel Flynn, class of 1999 is currently the chef at Bay Harbor Yacht Club. He is attempting his Executive Chef Certification.
  • Josh Ferguson, class of 2009, is currently a chef here at the GRCC ATC Catering department working with Chef Luba Petrash.

The judges are another wonderful collaboration bringing three Michigan ACF chapters together for the first time in over six years as well as three top culinary schools.

How GRCC Responds to the Unique Challenges of Student Parents Looking to Achieve the Dream

Students who are parents face a variety of challenges to their academic success, which make them an important population for community colleges to understand. In the latest edition of Data Notes, Achieving the Dream notes that 51 percent of ATD students (and nearly one-third of all community college students) have dependents relying on them.


These students often have considerable needs like childcare, employment, housing issues, and access to financial aid that must be met so that they are able to devote their full attention to the classroom.

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The importance of addressing the unique challenges faced by this population is reinforced by the fact that the percentage of single-parent households is increasing dramatically in the US: from 20 percent in 1980 to 30 percent in 2008.

At GRCC, the population of students with children is slightly smaller than the national average: according to the 2011 Community College Survey of Student Engagement only 26 percent of all GRCC students have children that live with them. This however does not mean that the impact of dependents is less dire – each one of those students noted that “caring for dependents” was a likely reason they might have to withdraw from classes or leave college entirely.

As part of GRCC’s ongoing measurement of the student experience with the CCSSE report found that 55 percent of students expressed that the college does help them with their non-academic responsibilities.

Single parents are the most at-risk when it comes to students on campus with dependents: their completion, transfer and re-enrollment rates in the third year are lower than their married counterparts or students without dependents. Of single parents, women are disproportionately represented compared to men – however they outperform their male counterparts in developmental English and Math classes.

Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count is a national non-profit organization committed to helping more community college students succeed, with a special focus on students of color and students with low-income. GRCC is one of the 150 colleges currently participating in the organization.
Source: Achieving the Dream, Data Notes, May/June 2012

GRCC in the News – 7/30/12

Power of Presence: Grand Rapids Urban League forges closer ties to business community
MiBiz | SUNDAY, JULY 22, 2012 | By Joe Boomgaard

GRAND RAPIDS — Joe Jones wants to change how the Grand Rapids Urban League works with businesses in West Michigan. […] Jones wants the Urban League to work in concert with groups including Goodwill Industries, Hope Network, Grand Rapids Community College and others to provide the community — including ex-offenders — with resources to improve their skills to become sustainably employable.  (More)