Walt Disney World Resort has announced that it will invest $1.5 million in Valencia College’s culinary arts and hospitality program, as the college prepares to move those programs to its new campus in downtown Orlando in August 2019.
This significant investment will help fund state-of-the-art classrooms and cutting-edge equipment for students at the reimagined Walt Disney World Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality, providing a foundation that will open many doors to the future as local students pursue their dreams.
“We’re proud to support Valencia College’s endeavor to provide affordable culinary and hospitality education opportunities to the downtown Orlando area, which will benefit our entire city,” said Walt Disney World Resort President George A. Kalogridis. “We know how important it is to invest in our talent, and this new campus will help develop the leaders of tomorrow for our thriving and growing city.”
The Valencia College Downtown Campus, a shared campus with the University of Central Florida, will open to students for the fall 2019 semester and serve the downtown Orlando community to improve countless lives through the power of affordable education. The campus will serve as the heart of Valencia’s culinary and hospitality programming, offering degree programs, certificates and workforce training.
“We couldn’t ask for a more creative and innovative partner than Walt Disney World Resort, and we’re so glad they’ve supported us in our efforts to provide revolutionary learning facilities and educational opportunities,” said Falecia Williams, campus president of Valencia College’s West and Downtown campuses. “Our latest endeavor to reimagine our culinary arts and hospitality campus and programming will be a transformational experience for our current and future students.”
Valencia’s culinary and hospitality programs will move into three floors of the 15-story UnionWest building, where the larger space can accommodate continued growth in the programs. The culinary program will feature cutting-edge equipment, including a demo kitchen, where students will learn to produce cooking videos and television demonstrations, and a beverage lab.
The expanded space for culinary and hospitality education will allow the college to triple the number of students served by the programs. Graduates of those programs have a 100 percent placement rate.
Walt Disney World Resort has been an integral part of Central Florida’s thriving culinary arts and hospitality industries for decades, employing thousands of world-class culinary chefs and hospitality leaders. With its continued commitment to fostering education and employment opportunities, Walt Disney World Resort is helping aspiring students achieve their career dreams.
In addition to the $1.5 million investment announced today, the Walt Disney World Resort culinary team has partnered with Valencia College to provide expertise and experience as the college refreshes its culinary arts curriculum. Valencia College also recently joined the growing network of schools included in the Disney Aspire program. Along with the University of Florida, University of Denver, Bellevue, Brandman and Wilmington Universities, Disney offers its eligible cast members the opportunity of 100-percent paid tuition upfront for a variety of degrees and programs through Valencia College—including culinary arts and hospitality management programs.