Helms College to Launch New Hotel Culinary Degree

AUGUSTA, GA—Helms College has teamed up with The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, in Greensboro, GA, for a new associate degree in culinary operations in resorts and clubs (CORC), which will launch in October.

The Augusta campus of Helms College will launch the new degree, which will bring The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company culture and philosophy to the classroom through brand ambassador presentations, as well as an exclusive externship at the hotel during the program. Upon successful completion of this degree, the resort will provide mentorship for students upon graduation regarding employment opportunities within the many luxury brands of Marriott International.

“Through discussions with the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee team, we learned that resorts face a major obstacle when looking to hire qualified culinary personnel to meet the demands of working on such properties, and there was no end in sight,” said Dr. Gary Markowitz, SVP of education, Helms College. “With Helms College, we already train culinary students to enter careers in restaurants, so we thought, ‘Why not expand?’ With this, we not only are enabled to reach a new pool of potential students, but also offer proper training for those interested in pursuing a career in hotels and resorts.”

Students enrolling in the new CORC degree program will be required to meet the admission requirements for Helms College and be interviewed by The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee.

“This will be a rigorous program that will not only focus on appropriate culinary training, but also adding in the culture and philosophy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, an esteemed, international brand,” he said. “We hope students graduate from this program with the foundation, knowledge and skills to be successful in the resorts and private club industry, and specifically within the brands of Marriott International, with the opportunity to pursue a career within the company.”

Students will also have the opportunity for experiential learning with Edgar’s Hospitality Group, operated by Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, including The Pinnacle Club, Edgar’s Above Broad and abundant culinary applied learning opportunities during Masters week in Augusta.

The partnership between the college and the Ritz-Carlton came about because the president of Helms College, Jim Stiff, has had a long-standing relationship with the hotel team. “He set up a meeting for me and the resort’s leadership team after we started thinking about options to possibly work together,” said Markowitz. “Through discussions about available opportunities like externships—similar to the internships we provide in Augusta—the idea of a dedicated training program that could double as a two-year cultural onboarding to the Ritz-Carlton brand came about, and we ran with it.”