Program Helps Students Find Careers to Best Match Skills and Interests
Since opening in September 2006, more than 1,000 externships have been completed at ECPI University's School of Culinary Arts, Culinary Institute of Virginia (CIV) in Norfolk. As an integral part of the school's curriculum, the externship program provides students with real-world, hands-on working experience in restaurants and other culinary businesses.
Unlike many culinary programs, CIV's externship program is based on a European apprenticeship model where a student would spend time in the work place while enrolled in classes at school. CIV students are also eligible to complete two externships, allowing them to explore different aspects of the food service industry, which contributes to their versatility as graduates.
Externship sites range from family-owned to corporate restaurants, university dining facilities, corporate food service, hospitality, catering companies, food media and other related businesses.
Rhys Lewis is Executive Chef at the Williamsburg Lodge, part of the Williamsburg Colonial Foundation. He has partnered with CIV for nearly five years and has had dozens of students do their externships at the lodge. Several just completed their programs.
"We rely on CIV to provide students with the right interests and talents to match our employment needs," Lewis says. "Some of our best hires were externs who are now on our staff. School personnel assess our priorities and requirements. We attend their job fairs and stay in contact with the career advisors. CIV is a great recruiting resource for us."