By Jessie Craig, Department of Career Services

You will often hear our Career Services Advisors speaking with students about the importance of the externship portion of our Culinary, Pastry & Baking Arts and Hospitality Management diploma programs. The externship experience is one of the key elements that sets our school apart, as we are able to guide students into the kitchens and offices of some of New York City’s and America’s top restaurants, hotels, pastry shops and media outlets. In 2013 alone, the school’s Career Services Department placed 499 students on externship in 292 establishments across the country. This crucial real-world experience is the best way to jump-start our graduates’ careers, providing a valuable network of industry contacts and the likelihood of being hired out of an externship for their first job.

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Throughout each diploma program, ICE’s Career Services Advisors meet with students individually to discuss their personal interests and goals within the food and hospitality industry. These meetings allow us to assist each student in identifying externship sites where they can “trail” (or interview), to gain additional insight into the types of business where they might like to work. Students are encouraged to complete trails at several sites before making their final commitment to an externship, so as to find the best site to fit their interests and long-term goals. We pride ourselves on our long-standing relationships with leading chefs, media outlets and entrepreneurs in the industry, and we encourage students to use their externship as a “golden ticket opportunity,” an opportunity to get their foot in the door with the top employers.

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It is always a pleasure when we see a class of students taking full advantage of this exciting opportunity. One of our latest classes—who graduated from the Culinary Arts program on January 30th —landed themselves in some of the most renowned kitchens in the city. What makes this class even more impressive is their dedication; many students worked around their full-time work schedules and evening culinary classes to schedule trails and secure an externship at a site they felt truly passionate about.

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Three students will be joining the Jean-Georges group at restaurants JoJo and Spice Market, and two students will pursue catering at The Upper Crust and Union Square Events. Others will be completing their externships at renowned New York City restaurants Blue Hill, BLT Steak, Dovetail and Blue Smoke. One student, Lauren Weinstein, who hopes to pursue a career in restaurant event management, will be joining the kitchen at CraftBar after interviewing and discussing her goals with Craft Restaurant Group’s Director of Culinary Operations, Lauren Hirschberg.  Ms. Wienstein explains, “Despite some panicked moments in the trailing process, I feel that I found the right fit.”  We wish all of these students success in their externships and beyond!

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While the list above is indeed impressive, it is representative of only a fraction of the wonderful sites we work with in our rewarding externship program. You can read more about ICE’s externship program and the multitude of sites that we work with here.

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