The Puratos Bakery School Foundation and Puratos US have opened the first US Bakery School at Pennsauken High School in Pennsauken, NJ. Plans for the school initially were announced in January of this year and the Pennsauken location is Puratos’ seventh international Bakery School location, joining locations in India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Romania and the Philippines.

Fifty-nine students were inducted into the Pennsauken Bakery School, where they will spend four years and 1,600 hours of classwork studying the disciplines of bakery, patisserie and chocolate alongside their regular high school curriculum. To celebrate the grand opening, each student received a chef coat to mark their enrollment. Upon graduation, students will receive a Certificate in Baking & Pastry and certification from the Retail Bakers of America.

“We are thrilled to have the next Bakery School located at Pennsauken High School, just steps from our US headquarters,” says Andy Brimacombe, president, Puratos US and Pennant Ingredients. “We see a need in skilled talent to fill leadership positions in bakeries and baked goods manufacturing throughout the country. The impact these students can have on our industry and we on their futures is exponential.”

In addition to in-house training, the program will offer lectures by guest speakers and provide the opportunity for students to visit industry partner plants and bakeries, according to Puratos. At this time, 258 students have graduated from Puratos Bakery Schools internationally, and the company hopes to have 1,000 students enrolled in its schools by 2030.

“Educators across the country are seeing the benefits of skills-based learning programs,” says Ronnie Tarchichi, PhD, superintendent, Pennsauken Schools. “We see higher graduation rates in CTE students, and comparable lifetime incomes to students who go on to earn bachelor’s degrees. This partnership with Puratos US, and the program they have developed, will create incomparable opportunity for our students.”