What is a Career Pathway?

A career pathway is a series of connected educational programs, with integrated work experience, on-the-job training, and support services, that enables students to combine school and work and advance over time to better jobs and higher levels of education and training. Career pathways target jobs of importance to local economies. They are designed to create educational “stepping stones” for advancement of workers and jobs seekers, particularly those stuck in low-wage jobs, and a supply of qualified workers for employers. As such, career pathways help to ensure that investment in education and training pays off in enhanced economic development.
Davis Jenkins, University of Illinois at Chicago

View Cascade Culinary Institute Career Pathways Information.

Career Information

Video Source: National Restaurant Association

Diversity of Career Opportunities

Careers in the restaurant industry require a passion for the cooking, commitment to customer service and a creative spirit. Expect a fast pace, requiring high energy and sometimes long hours. For those with the calling, the opportunities are many. Restaurants are the largest employer of graduates, with employment also found in grocery stores, corporate dining, mobile food services, hospitals, bakeries, assisted living communities, schools and universities, prisons, private households, amusement parks, cruise ships, national parks, and more!

Support and Networking

Specialized elective offerings within the curriculum enable students to pursue courses that are targeted towards their desired career path. Career Success courses are also offered to support students in both discovery and preparation for their transition form academia to a career path within the hospitality industry. Cascade Culinary Institute® (CCI) considers job placement assistance for graduates among its most important priorities. Networking activities take place throughout the year, providing openings for students to get placed in internships or post-graduate employment, to include the below activities:

  • Networking with regional industry professionals
  • Student participation in CCI service-learning initiatives like Taste of the Town, Meal of the Year and Empty Bowls.
  • Involvement with the Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry Arts and Hospitality Management Program Advisory Committees (PAC), comprised of local industry leaders
  • Involvement with national and state professional organizations, some of which are listed below:

National Culinary Organizations

Receive American Culinary Federation Certification

The Cascade Culinary Institute’s Baking & Pastry Arts and Culinary Arts Programs are accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC), which is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This accreditation ensures the curriculum is industry-relevant, current, and delivering the appropriate skills required for successful careers in the field of baking and culinary arts. As an added value, AAS degree graduates are qualify for the prestigious American Culinary Federation Certified Culinarian or Certified Pastry Culinarian certification. Graduates with this certificate have distinguished themselves by meeting high benchmarks in culinary techniques, nutrition, food safety, sanitation, and supervisory management. Students must apply for this certification, and hold membership with the American Culinary Federation.

Industry Outlook and Trends

Food service includes grocery stores, general medical and surgical hospitals, community care facilities for the elderly, nursing care facilities, elementary and secondary schools, private households, amusement and recreations industries, in addition to full and limited service restaurants. Northeast and Western geographic regions are paid slightly more than in the Midwest and South and corporate organizations typically pay higher salaries than other places of employment. Some employers provide employees with uniforms and free meals, but federal law permits employers to deduct from their employees’ wages, the cost or fair value of any meals or lodging provided. Chefs, cooks, and food preparation workers who work full time often receive typical benefits, but part-time and hourly workers usually do not. In some large hotels and restaurants, kitchen workers belong to unions. The principal unions are the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union and the Service Employees International Union. The National Restaurant Association Trends and Forecasting report provide additional insight as to career path opportunities for CCI graduates.