Oakes career and tech center adds chef training kitchen


High school students in southeastern North Dakota now have an opportunity to get some chef training before they graduate.

The Southeast Region Career and Technology Center in Oakes has added a commercial kitchen in space that once was used for storage. The $307,000 project was finished over the summer, and 110 students are enrolled in culinary classes this fall, the American News reported.

The Oakes School District provided $60,000 for the kitchen, with the tech center providing the rest. The culinary program has been in the works for about a decade, according to Oakes Superintendent Kraig Steinhoff.

“We took a trip 12 years ago to Oklahoma and saw a chef-training facility down there, and in Ohio,” he said. “From there, Wahpeton built a new chef-training facility, and I always wanted to get one in Oakes.”

The tech center is just a few blocks from Oakes Public School. Most of the center’s 1,500 students are from Oakes, but it also serves the Ellendale, Forman and Gwinner school districts. The tech center also has a Wahpeton site, where culinary classes are offered.

The chef training program will benefit students who are entering the workforce, according to Wayde Sick, director of North Dakota Career and Technical Education.

“There’s a little over 900 open available jobs in the food industry,” he said.

The Wahpeton center also offers the occasional class for adults. Oakes tech center Director Dan Rood Jr. hopes Oakes can do the same.

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