Sherry’s love of hospitality enabled her to achieve her dream. For nineteen years Sherry worked as a waitress, but Sherry wished for additional training in culinary. She found her answer in a class at the Education Center of Rising Sun. The class, offered in partnership with Chef Kenneth of Rising Star Casino Resort, gave her the opportunity to earn certifications in START/Start Kitchen Cook and Serv-Safe. “Sherry was an exceptional student and received exemplary scores on her exams,” said Sandra Bowlus, one of her instructors. At age fifty-two Sherry said “I felt awkward and out of place taking a hospitality class, but this experience was terrific and worthwhile… I learned so much!” Sherry recently accepted the position of Chef at Granny’s Home Cooking in Vevay, Indiana and is working toward another certification from the American Hotel Lodging Educational Institute.
In 2010 the culinary pathway in Rising Sun was launched with support from an EcO Network grant, starting with training for entry level positions in the hospitality industry. Since then, Debbie Thomason, Director of the Education Center, consulted with the area’s river boat casinos to better understand their workforce needs and, in response, expanded the number of industry recognized certifications to build the program into what it is today, providing a pipeline of skilled culinary workers to southeast Indiana’s hospitality industry.
“Students from the program have been offered employment immediately upon completion,” said Thomason, “and some are now in positions of executive chef and sous-chef.”
Today, the class is supported by funding through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development workforce training grants, administered by River Valley Resources of Madison, Indiana.