Pastry Arts Employment Training

Pastry Arts 26 Week Employment Training Curriculum

Employment Training

  • The first phase of the Pastry Arts Program consists of 10 weeks (240 hours) of formal instruction in our production kitchen. Students learn a structured pastry arts curriculum developed by Sunflower Bakery, focused on techniques and methods including measurement, ingredients, and use of equipment. This knowledge is applied to their preparation of pies, bars, cookies, quick breads, meringues, cakes, icings, fillings, decorating, packing and presentation. Comprehensive employee development training during this phase also includes a full range of “soft” skills using our interactive curriculum, all geared toward being a successful employee. Topics include goal setting, hygiene, time management, personal responsibility, problem solving, efficiency and effective communication.
  • During the second phase, students complete 8 weeks (160 hours) of on-the-job training. This phase includes ServSafe Certification, a national certification program that provides food safety training to industry employees. All students receive the Food Handler’s certification. Some of our students also prepare for the Food Services Manager exam. The ServSafe Food Manager’s certification is a valuable credential when seeking a job. In addition, our students also do a one-week rotation at Café Sunflower during this phase, learning essential customer service and front-of-house operations.
  • In the third phase of the program, students are in an 8 week (160 hours) in-house paid internship in our production kitchen under the supervision and tutelage of the chef-instructors on the production of Sunflower’s pastries and baked goods. During the internship, job search topics include resume-writing, interviewing, how to look for a job, a personal portfolio, and the composition of a personal statement. The personal portfolio includes a resume, personal statement and curriculum summary; ServSafe certificate; photographs of student’s work, and the Sunflower Bakery Certificate of Completion. During this phase, our staff works closely with students toward getting a job. We work hard to create and maintain strong relationships with local food businesses. As a result, we can direct students to job opportunities. Students are also encouraged to develop their own job leads. We accompany students to interviews as needed and serve as a resource for the student and employers during the application and interview process. Short-term job monitoring once a graduate secures employment, we collaborate with the on-site supervisor to provide direct support as needed, during the first week of employment, and then ongoing monitoring during the first three months of employment.

We also add a few special and necessary ingredients to increase our students’ success:

Designated Support Person. Each student must have such a support person (e.g., family member, social worker, friend, service provider or other person/agency representative) who will provide support during training, internship and employment.

Job Preparation. We help develop good work skills, appropriate work behaviors, attitudes, and values. The industry-specific skills our students learn are applicable to a wide variety of fields and jobs. These highly transferable skills include closely following verbal and visual directions, precision and accuracy, efficiency, and problem-solving.

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At Sunflower we:

  • Work in a fast-paced, sometimes stressful kitchen in close proximity to other students and chefs
  • Share space and work calmly and cooperatively with peers
  • Learn in a multi-sensory environment with bright fluorescent lights, loud noises and warm temperatures that requires hands-on work, at times with sticky and gooey doughs
  • Stand for four hours at a time, bend, lift, and move heavy items such as 30-50 pound bags of flour and large heavy trays
  • Routinely use objects found in the kitchen, like chefs’ knives and zesters, in a safe manner

Interested in our Employment Training program? We want to meet you and show you around our kitchen.

To arrange a visit to the Bakery, contact Sara Portman Milner, Director of Student Services at