February 1, 2019

One Class Can Be Your Ticket into a Career in Management

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Where else can you take a single elective course, and if you do well in it, be almost guaranteed a job offer in management? The Foodservice Management in Health Care class at the CIA has sent dozens of graduates into management-track careers in the fast-growing health care segment of the food business.

One of them is Paul Goskowski, general manager of dining services for Unidine at Fairhaven Retirement Community in Sykesville, MD. Goskowski has been with Unidine since he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in management from the CIA, starting as a chef/manager. With responsibility for the community’s entire dining operations for the last two years, he now has 90 employees and seven managers who report to him.

Career Choice Previously Not Even Considered

“The healthcare industry is not something that students at the CIA think about,” Goskowski says. “The bachelor’s program gets you down that road headed in that direction. Then Professor (Lynne) Eddy’s class is like ‘make a right at that intersection’—that very specific career direction.”

Goskowski says he would have laughed if you told him 10 years ago where he would be today. But when Unidine representatives spoke to his class about considering a career in health care, it piqued his interest in the possibility. Now he comes to the CIA to recruit at Career Fairs and speak with students in the Foodservice Management in Health Care class.

“Health care is never going away. Everybody will need some kind of care,” Goskowksi says. “There’s a whole generation of retirement age, wanting the level of hospitality that they’re used to. Just because they’re retiring, it doesn’t mean they want meatloaf and mashed potatoes. So it’s a great time to be in the industry, because it’s booming right now.”

Job Promotion Opportunities for Chefs and Managers

The stereotype of hospital and health care food is just no longer accurate, he says, adding that Unidine’s kitchens are cook-from-scratch. “I was able to use my culinary education and all my experience in a setting I was more satisfied with,” says Goskowsi. “It really made me think this was the right choice. From there, being able to quickly be promoted—about every two years—is more reassurance that I made the right decision.”

Fairhaven has 300 independent living residents and about 100 more in the health care facility.

In addition to day-to-day operations—involving three meals a day in a main dining room, bistro/café, and an eatery called the Copper Kettle Grill—his team caters a numerous special events.

“The industry is changing, with person-centered care and a mindset of hospitality,” Goskowski says. “The CIA represents that. Professor Eddy’s class is the foundation for getting that education and knowledge into this line of business.”

CIA Grads Hire Fellow Grads

He credits the CIA with setting him up for the success in his career choice, once he made the jump. “It’s about doing things the right way: being prepared, being professional, being organized. Hitting a level of expectation at an early age and understanding that extremely high level is your bare minimum expectation put me ahead of other people coming out of the gate.”

Knowing the skills and level of professionalism he’ll get from fellow CIA grads, Goskowski looks there first at hiring time. “When we were hiring an executive chef, seeing The Culinary Institute of America on the resume as their education jumped them right to the top of the list.”

That’s because he knows, “The CIA’s basic foundation is higher than somebody else’s highest level.”