Elk Grove Village announces $750,000 grant to fund expansion of Elk Grove High School’s Culinary Manufacturing Lab

Elk Grove Village officials announced on Tuesday that the village will provide Elk Grove High School with a $750,000 grant to fund a major expansion of the school’s Culinary Manufacturing Lab and create cross-curricular opportunities for students seeking career pathways in food production, restaurant and catering management.

The grant will fund the complete modernization of the school’s Culinary Manufacturing Lab and make the program accessible to more students.

Elk Grove High School’s Culinary Arts program is part of their Career and Technical Education Program. The goal of the expansion, according to school officials, is to combine the business and entrepreneurship pathway with the culinary arts pathway to better acquaint students with all facets of operating a business in the food production industry.

“We know that students learn best when they are able to apply their knowledge in real-world settings across multiple disciplines,” said Elk Grove High School Principal Paul Kelly. “So, this grant will help us modernize facilities, expand the programming and more closely combine food production instruction with business development and management principal coursework so our students can emerge from the program with a well-rounded skill set that will be attractive to future employers.”

Specifically, the grant will provide needed funds to build a state-of-the-art industrial kitchen equipped with six gas ranges, as well as commercial-grade ovens, mixers, dishwashers, griddles and all the necessary equipment to operate a full-scale food preparation facility. The expansion will also include a classroom adjacent to the kitchen that will be used for instruction, serving, catering, and hosting events.

The renovation will begin in June with the goal of being fully operational by September 2024.

The school’s Culinary Arts program currently has 150 students, but demand is increasing, according to Principal Kelly. With the expansion, the program will be able to provide instruction to 40 additional students.

The Culinary Manufacturing Lab grant is just the latest initiative where the village is supporting job training and workforce development through the school’s Career and Technical Education Program. The village recently provided the final installment of a five-year, $500,000 grant to fund the continued renovation of the school’s advanced manufacturing lab in order to make manufacturing careers more accessible for young people.

“We want our Business Park to thrive and to do that we need Elk Grove High School to help serve as a pipeline to fill job openings and grow future entrepreneurs. To succeed, Elk Grove High School students need to gain the competitive edge out there in the workforce. It’s as simple as that,” said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson. “There’s no better way to do that than provide them with state-of-the art facilities, top-notch instruction, and innovative coursework that combines culinary arts with business management. By providing this grant, we’re investing in our youth while also providing local companies with a deeper talent pool to draw from. We’re also recognizing the vision, innovation, creativity, and enthusiasm of EGHS faculty who have worked so hard to elevate this program so it can deliver real results for its students.”

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