As the shovel slices into the ground, it symbolizes the start of a new era for hospitality
education and training at Montgomery County Community College.
Construction recently started on MCCC’s new Hospitality Institute, transforming the
former campus bookstore on the Blue Bell Campus, 340 Dekalb Pike, into a 20,400-square-foot,
state-of-the-art experiential learning center.
“The new Hospitality Institute will be a game-changer for workforce and economic development.
This innovative facility will offer new and expanded programs that will prepare students
for high-demand occupations in the growing hospitality and restaurant industries,”
said Dr. Victoria L. Bastecki-Perez, MCCC President. “The Hospitality Institute will
help these industries advance their momentum as they continue to rebound from the
The Hospitality Institute will feature a student-run educational restaurant that will
serve both the campus and the community. In addition to the restaurant, the building
will include a pastry and bakery retail shop featuring the students’ creations, pasta
laboratory and chocolate laboratory. Together with the restaurant, these spaces will
serve as real live-learning experiences for students to study different aspects of
operating a culinary business.
“The new Hospitality Institute at Montgomery County Community College will provide
comprehensive training for so many rewarding paths, both personally and professionally,
in a vital industry that contributes positive economic impact right here in Montgomery
County, PA,” said Mike Bowman, President & CEO of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention
Board (VFTCB). “With 80 hotels, 1,800 restaurants and Montco Makers, and more continuing
to choose to come to Montco, we’re excited to welcome these future workers to our
growing tourism family. We know this program will lead the entire region, and that’s
one of the many reasons we’re so proud to work with MCCC.”
With the opening of the new Hospitality Institute, MCCC’s well-respected Tourism and
Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts, and Baking & Pastry Arts programs currently
held in Lansdale will relocate to the Blue Bell Campus. In addition to these popular
programs, MCCC will add Beverage Management, Fermentation Science and Nutrition Science
programs among others added to our portfolio.
“The Hospitality Institute will not only offer our current Hospitality and Culinary
programs, but it presents an opportunity to add new, cutting-edge programs that will
enhance the existing portfolio,” said Karima Roepel, MCCC Director of the Hospitality
Institute. “In the next few years, the demand for skilled employees and leaders in
these areas will continue to grow.”
Similar to the Tourism and Hospitality Management Program, the new proposed Beverage
Management program addresses the business side of the food industry. Students will
learn how to manage beverage outcomes to enhance operations, improve menu development
and generate revenue.
“There are numerous career pathways and opportunities available in the hospitality
business, including sustainable tourism, global/international meeting planning, entrepreneurship,
casino leadership roles, catering and event planning, human resources, eco-tourism,
and many more,” said Roepel. “Graduates will have much flexibility with their career
choices and good opportunities for advancement.”
Opportunities also will abound with the new proposed Fermentation Science and Technology
and Nutrition Science programs.
With the food industry being one of the largest worldwide, fermentation science is
a rapidly emerging area. MCCC’s new Fermentation Science and Technology Program will
focus on the science of fermenting food and beverages. Students will learn about the
processes and methods involved with fermentation as well as the safety, culinary and
nutritional aspects of fermented foods and beverages. They also will have the opportunity
to participate in internships with industry partners.
The Nutrition Science Program will focus largely on dietary and health issues concerning
food, eating and medicine. Students who study nutrition science often pursue careers
as dieticians and nutritionists. With MCCC’s Nutrition Science Program, students will
not only study the nutrition theory but will learn how to prepare the food – a combined
approach that is valued by prospective employers.
In addition to all of the programs, the Hospitality Institute will offer a variety
of non-credit classes for anyone who wants to learn about culinary and baking skills.
MCCC also will offer group or company team-building sessions and date nights.
“With the relocation to the Blue Bell Campus, the Hospitality Institute will be more
accessible to our students and employees on campus as well as the community,” said
Roepel, noting that there is public transportation available as well as free parking.
Another unique aspect of the new Hospitality Institute will be the incorporation of
outdoor spaces for interdisciplinary learning. Long-range plans call for planting
fruit trees and gardens to use fresh ingredients in the culinary labs and restaurant
while continuing to support local food pantries.
“We want to encourage students and community members to learn about sustainable living,
which we will model with our Hospitality Institute,” said Roepel. “By using our own
produce, we will demonstrate the numerous benefits of the local farm-to-fork approach
for healthier recipes and the environment.”
MCCC’s Foundation is actively pursuing partnerships for philanthropic support to help
grow more opportunities for students at the Hospitality Institute. For more information,
contact Jay Browning, CFRE, Executive Director of MCCC Foundation at email@example.com.
For more information about the new Hospitality Institute, contact Karima Roepel, Director
of the Hospitality Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This press release was produced by the Montgomery County Community College. The views expressed here are the author’s own.