MCP has been a strong partner for high-in-demand medical vocational training programs to many large public institutions of higher education in various states since 2004.
In 2017, MCP contracted with The University of California Irvine to deliver and promote a first-of-its kind culinary arts certificate program in accordance with our condensed, low tuition cost curriculum model and the accompanying marketing, instructional delivery assets, externships, and program management developed exclusively for MCP partners.
Historically, culinary arts training is at minimum, a 12 month and up to two years of vocational training which created a challenge…especially since the classes would only meet two evenings per week for a maximum time frame of 3 months for full time cohorts and 6 months for part-time cohorts. The other challenging aspect was that most culinary arts training programs, because of the nature of facilities, equipment, and length of time, have tuition costs hovering well over $24,000 and up to $50,000. Because UCI is a well-regarded public institution (ranked by News Report as 7th in the nation for quality education), the program had to also meet very strict quality standards in order for the UCI board members to approve.
MCP was deemed by UCI to have the experience, the quality curriculum and talented marketing team, along with strong references from other public institutions it has partnered with in the past, to be selected as the partner of choice for UCI for this program. Even though MCP is known and regarded for its quality medical programs, the new culinary arts blended curriculum passed all UCI quality criteria metrics.
Below is how we overcame the challenges described above to produce a well structured culinary arts program which met all of UCI’s standards and then some.
Completion time challenges
In order to accommodate the “Get In, Get Out, Get Paid” philosophy that MCP medical programs are known for, we had to condense an entire year of intensive full time culinary arts training program as found at top culinary schools, into a 6-month part time, or 3-month full time program - something which has never been done before for this type of vocational training. So we put our curriculum development team to work and came up with a 510-hour program that included a “flipped classroom” (hybrid) model in which students would do classwork at home via cooking videos, and homework in class in a commercial kitchen facility MCP contracted with. Both aspects had to be integrated and we developed a partnership with Canada’s Rouxbe.com, the largest online cooking school in the world that featured an industry training program utilized at over 500 Marriott International Hotel properties, Waldorf Astoria, and Jet Blue, to name a few, to train their new hire chefs, and update existing kitchen staff on technique mastery. A curriculum that is now recognized by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation as a “Quality Program” was produced and approved by the University of California Irvine Provost, UCI board members, and corporate attorney turned Executive Director for the Continuing Education Division Ian Gibson, Esquire.
The program is so unique and exciting that other flagship universities are expressing interest in partnering with MCP to offer culinary arts training to their communities.
Recently, in September 2018, MCP brought in Disney Culinary which has since become involved to provide a 6-month paid internship at one of its more than 500 gourmet restaurants for graduating students.
The hybrid program combines 110 hours of high-definition cooking video assignments and assessments, 200 hours of live cooking instruction taught by a top Executive Chef in a modern teaching kitchen contracted by MCP, and 200 hours of internship at Disney in Orlando Florida. Students may also be placed in an externship at local gourmet restaurants. Word has quickly spread and many area dining establishments are calling the university for participating in providing externships to students that can turn into offers of employment as professional cooks.
Tuition Cost Challenges
Tuition for the 510-hour culinary arts blended program is $7,450 which is only a fraction of what brick and mortar culinary schools are charging which averages well over $25,000 to offer the same culinary education the MCP program offers.
Included in the tuition is access to the Rouxbe million-dollar online platform, live kitchen instruction, UCI embroidered chef uniforms, a professional 8-set knife kit and a culinary small-wares kit - all provided by Mercer Culinary, a brand recognized in the culinary world for high quality.
After all the value drivers and student motivations are connected and communicated to prospective students, price has become a much lesser issues; especially since UCI has implemented some convenient options that were recommended by MCP to cover program costs for students.
Externships and Internships
in addition to UCI’s 7th in the nation of leading public institutions rankings, fast ROI for student graduates who graduate debt-free or almost debt-free, and high quality of course content and instruction, Disney Culinary’s participation in offering UCI’s culinary graduates a 6-month paid internship, is in and of itself another great value driver for the program. Students who opt for a local externship, are placed in top restaurants, catering companies, top hotels, and other resorts with fine dining by MCP externship coordinating staff as a service to UCI. Many expensive culinary schools do not even place students in an externship-it’s up to the student to find their own which was very shocking; especially at their double-digit tuition price ranges.
Marketing and enrollment systems
For this program, the initial lead generation efforts created a funnel of over 430 interested prospects within the first month which is outstanding, but expected. MCP and UCI’s award-winning marketing teams combined their marketing expertise to launch a very formidable and results oriented digital marketing campaign that will consistently yield 15 enrolled students per class offering (max is 15 students to keep instructor to student ratios small - 15:1).
Overall, the selective admissions program implementation and launch was very successful and seamless as the very first pilot class for this unique culinary program is set to start on October 23rd, 2018…with plans in place to offer both full-time and part time classes at one time in subsequent offerings to keep up with demand.
Other flagship universities in California and other states are already inquiring about adopting this program to drive revenues to their departments. MCP, Rouxbe, and other corporate and public entities view this model as one that will revolutionize culinary arts training to make it more affordable and valuable as an education investment for students in the years to come.
MCP gives many thanks to the foresight of the University of California Irvine CE team who saw this opportunity for it’s promising potential and decided to act on it.