Suncoast Tech culinary students gaining career experience

WWSB ABC7 News at 12:30pm
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 11:23 AM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2023 at 12:58 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Suncoast is growing and developing by the day. New roads, businesses and restaurants are popping up in both Manatee and Sarasota counties.

The development creates a demand for hired help and a program within Sarasota County School district is working to fulfill this demand.

Inside the kitchen at Suncoast Technical college, students are getting the hand-on training to serve our community.

Students living with disabilities are learning how to prep, cook, and serve meals in the “Culinary Arts 2 Careers program,” or CA2C for short.

“I love it so much here and I just love to cook. I love to do everything here and the teachers,” said culinary student Celina Martien.

CA2C is the only program of its kind in Florida.

Kathleen Mattingly is the Vocational Coordinator inside Sarasota County Schools, and the brains behind the operation.

She said, “When the students complete this program, they’ll be able to apply and enroll and work in our school cafeterias.”

Currently, 27 students are enrolled and students are bussed in from six different high schools in the county.

Mattingly says seeing her dream come to fruition brings her so much pride.

She said, “It brings tears to my eyes because it took a while to get it done. Now it’s successful and it means so much to me.”

Through her leadership, these students are not only gaining jobs and life skills but also comradery.

Mattingly said, “It’s such a win for them, it has helped our students to become stronger, become better leaders, and its even helped with their disabilities.”

In turn, the culinary students are helping their classmates!

Some of the meals they end up inside campus vending machines for purchase.

These students are serving their community, gaining industry certification, and making memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

If you would like to enroll your student click here: