Holyoke Community College wins Deval Patrick Prize for innovative culinary partnership

New HCC MGM Institute for Culinary Arts strengthens training programs

June 6, 2018

Boston – The Boston Foundation is pleased to announce today that Holyoke Community College has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Deval Patrick Prize for Community Colleges. The college won the $50,000 prize in recognition of its expanded culinary arts and hospitality programs, related in part to the opening of the HCC MGM Institute for Culinary Arts in downtown Holyoke. The new institute, which opened in January 2018, will allow the college to strengthen and expand its culinary arts programs to better prepare students for careers in culinary arts and meet the needs of the Pioneer Valley's growing hospitality industry.

Secretary Acosta
Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development announced the Patrick Prize winner at an evening celebration of community colleges at the Boston Foundation

First awarded in 2015, the Patrick Prize is designed to recognize community colleges that do an outstanding job of partnering with employers to build effective career pathways for their students.

"In this economy, postsecondary education opens doors for graduates to succeed that would remain locked," said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. "What Holyoke Community College has done with this partnership is take an already strong program to the next level. The program leverages a shared interest between Holyoke Community College and local employers like MGM – and does it in a student-focused way that makes it a win-win-win – for the college, the employers and most importantly, for the students who set out from the program into careers with promise and potential."

Holyoke Community College has offered training in culinary arts and hospitality services for more than three decades, but the new Culinary Arts Institute in Holyoke's Innovation district provides access to state-of-the-art equipment and serves as a source for hands-on training that leads to enhanced internships and better job placements.

Group photo
Holyoke Community College President Dr. Christina Royal (third from left) and representatives of HCC and the Culinary Arts program accepted the 2018 Patrick Prize.

"We are proud to be honored with the Patrick Prize today," said Dr. Christina Royal, President of Holyoke Community College. "It is recognition of the hard work and thoughtful process we have been able to undertake with our business and community partners to identify and meet the needs of both the hospitality industry and our students – by giving an ever-wider pool of students the skills and experience to set them up for jobs and careers."

The new Institute is just the most visible part of the Holyoke Community College Culinary Arts and Hospitality expansion project, which also includes:

  • Increased engagement of and collaboration with businesses within the hospitality industry in Western Massachusetts to scale up the size of the sector's labor pool, enhance the occupational skills of job seekers and incumbent workers, and develop career pathways;
  • Curriculum enhancement, including efforts to address the remedial needs of students, a redesigned certificate to help students effectively complete the program within a year, and a new Associates degree in Culinary Arts;
  • The development and implementation of stackable workforce development credentials;
  • Alignment of workforce skills training to degree and certificate programs;
  • Increased community engagement, especially in regard to the food insecurity issues in Holyoke and among the college's students.

HCC's Culinary Arts programs currently enroll more than 200 students – enrollment in the programs will grow to more than 300 students as a part of the expansion.