Craven Community College opens commercial kitchen at the Volt Center’

Would you like to train for a new job or expand your existing skills? A new, state-of-the-art training center is now open in New Bern for courses that will help students reach their highest potential in today’s hospitality industry.

Craven Community College hosted a dedication ceremony Tuesday for Volt Center’s new commercial kitchen and hospitality training facility. The Volt Center serves as the primary training center for Craven CC employees.

Located at 205 First St. on the Volt Center campus, it is led by Meghan Margarum, Work Force Development Program Developer of Trades & Occupations.

Ray Staats, president of Craven Community College, said the college invested less than $500,000 from state funds to complete the project, which cost more than $5 million.

The rest of the money came from our partners, Staats said. “This is an amazing testament to the people who worked to make this happen.”

Since the Volt Center opened, the center has trained more than 2,000 students and more than 600 students have found immediate employment with salaries ranging from $15 per hour to $70,000 per year in entry-level positions.

“Employers from across the region come to the Volt Center to interview students while they’re still learning their craft,” Staats said.

The Volt Center’s kitchen was designed to provide classroom space and practical equipment for hospitality jobs in Craven County.

Members of the Board of Directors of CCC and its Foundation, Beverly Purdue, Former Governor of North Carolina. City and county officials, university professors and invited guests were present when the ribbon was cut and were allowed to take a tour of the new location.

The 22,000 square foot training facility includes modern restaurant amenities such as prep stations, ovens, fryers, refrigerators, ranges and a dishwasher, as well as dry food storage, a dining area and classrooms and offices.

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New Bern City Councilwoman Sabrina Bengal said the importance of education in hospitality goes hand-in-hand with the growth of a key industry in the county.

“The impact that tourism is having on jobs, sales tax and the economic impact is amazing, and this is another tool in that toolbox that we can use,” she said. If we don’t have frontline staff in the hotels, in the restaurants and in the attractions, it will be difficult to sustain what we have worked so hard to achieve over these many years.”

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The Volt Center is part of an ongoing partnership between the City of New Bern and Craven CC. Using buildings and space provided by the city, Craven CC began offering courses in the Volt in 2019.

The Volt Center now includes a workforce training center, diesel and heavy equipment workshop, makerspace, law enforcement simulator training, and the small business center.

Courses available include HVAC, hospitality careers, ServSafe training and refreshers, bartenders, brewing, plumbing, welding small engine repairs, forklift operations, diesel system engineering, electrical and carpentry, and more.

For more information on the hospitality programs offered at the Volt Center, visit cravencc.edu/hospitality.

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