Local leaders in the tourism industry are sharing ideas for the College of The Desert's west valley campus to strengthen its culinary and hospitality training approach.
The goal of "Visit Greater Palm Springs" is to build a strong pipeline of workers for the future.
"We used to be closed by choice. Two days a year. Now we're closed two days a week," said a local restaurant owner, Patrick Service. His family owns the Las Casuelas restaurant chain in palm springs. Even though they have long-term employees – they understand the need for a hospitality and culinary pipeline with local schools.
"I think it shows an empty town for many restaurants that aren't open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you know, the hotels are a big draw for people on the weekends. But you know, without someplace to eat, commune, and have a drink. It affects tourism here," says Service.
"Visit Greater Palm Springs" partnered with Convention, Sports, and Leisure to build an assessment of culinary and hospitality programs across the country.
"They're recommending that our program should be a high-end program. We have a lot of restaurants here; we have a lot of upscale resorts and hotels that have a need and demand for those types of programs," says the President and C.E.O. of V.G.P.S. Scott White. "They're recommending a mid-size culinary hospitality program."
College of the Desert officials is responding to the report's recommendations, saying they have considered the asks of "Visit Greater Palm Springs" and other agencies. They have a system created by faculty and stakeholders that will make the pipeline for Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley.
Service says the essence of palm springs relies on tourism. And without the workforce, there is competition between businesses for employees.
I think it just affects the quality of our product.
Among the recommendations, they want C.O.D. to create a 30,000 square feet facility, which is probably equivalent to about 50,000 square feet of gross space. It needs to be able to deliver and facilitate diverse programs. It must accommodate multiple culinary labs and kitchens, classroom space, a students-staffed restaurant, pastry spaces, a demonstration kitchen restaurant banquet, an event space, a creamery and wine, beer, and seller management.
Implementing the recommendation by C.S.L. is a real chance to invest in our youth and future leaders here. For too long, I want to say people have been feeling left out, and this is our chance to show them that we care about them and their future growth.