The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF), the educational arm of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), a grant in the amount of $481,200 on August 5 for the ACFEF Apprenticeship Program to advance the growing needs of apprenticeship in the 21st Century.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded a total of $6,499,992 to 11 organizations under the funding opportunity SGA/DFA PY 08-11, “Advancing Registered Apprenticeship in the 21st Century: Collaborating for Success.” The grants are to assist national industry and employer associations and labor-management organizations in advancing registered apprenticeship through the development of programs that use an updated 21st–century registered apprenticeship framework.

“The ACFEF National Apprenticeship Committee is pleased to be a recipient of the U.S. Department of Labor’s grant for advancing apprenticeship,” says Mary Zappone, National Apprenticeship Committee chair for the ACFEF. “This grant allows us to continue strengthening and developing this viable training program while increasing access and fulfilling the culinary industry’s demand for trained chefs and cooks.”

Currently, the ACFEF has 60 apprenticeship programs throughout the U.S. with 689 registered apprentices. Each ACFEF apprenticeship program is developed in voluntary cooperation with ACF chapters, business partners, government agencies, foodservice establishments, and local colleges. The ACFEF Apprenticeship Program incorporates 10 on-the-job learning stations and an educational component, concluding with an associate degree in either culinary arts or pastry arts. Upon graduation, each apprentice is given the opportunity to verify his or her skills by testing for an ACF professional certification.

The ACFEF Apprenticeship Program has been registered with the Bureau of Apprenticeship, formerly the Bureau of Apprenticeship & Training, for more than 20 years. It is the only culinary-focused apprenticeship program registered that offers industry recognized professional certification upon graduation.

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