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Baking pies and HTC led to a new, second career

Cathie Wood Baking Student

Brooklyn Park, April 8, 2022 – Cathie Wood always loved to bake. She’s gone through phases of different favorites, but currently, her first choice is pie.

“There’s just something about a real homemade crust, homemade pie,” she said. “I’ve spent a lot of time on pie refining my crusts, different types of crusts, gluten-free, all different varieties. And then, of course, the fillings.”

Her personal choice for filling is peach, but she noted that she probably makes more coconut cream pies—her husband’s favorite.

Her love of baking was a hobby during the 26 years she worked as a nurse. She has a bachelor’s in nursing and a master’s in organizational management. But during the pandemic, her position was eliminated. She was given the opportunity to train for another nursing role, but she decided to try a new career.

“I don’t know if I would call it a new passion or just a new phase of life, but I’m going to work with pastry now,” she said.

The decision to enroll in college

Initially she thought she’d do something on her own. But she decided she needed training to avoid some of the risk that comes with trial and error.

“I could just start selling on Facebook or something. But there's always going to be a price to pay. Do I want to pay $10,000 worth of errors, wasted product, heartache, maybe disappointment?”

Wood’s adult son is enrolled in the Culinary program at Hennepin Technical College (HTC) and had many positive things to say about it. The Baking and Pastry Entrepreneur program at the college is a new addition to Culinary, which is ranked nationally.

“Our son has been very successful and loves it,” she said. “After we considered the financials of it, it seemed like, ‘Why wouldn't I?’ Plus the networking that I can do,” she said.

The campus experience in pastry

Returning to a college campus to train for a second career can intimidate some students. At HTC, the average age of a student is 27-years-old. Wood understands that she is a non-traditional student and she embraces it.

“I don’t mind sharing my age with my classmates,” she said, laughing. “I’ll remind them that I’m almost 60.”

The way Wood sees it, she and her classmates each bring their own life experiences to the classroom and learn from each other. She has more experience cooking at home however there are some students who have more experience working in the culinary industry. She describes the learning environment as respectful and encouraging.

The Baking and Pastry program at HTC is unique because there’s an emphasis on entrepreneurship. Wood is surprised at how she responded to the classes that are designed to improve her skillset as a small business owner.

“I thought I would go in, learn how to refine my culinary skills. I find both entrepreneurship and marketing to be very rigorous courses, and I’m super excited about them.”

Wood is more convinced than ever that her future isn’t working for a corporation and that she is on the path to launch a pastry business.

About Hennepin Technical College
Founded in 1972, Hennepin Technical College (HTC) is the largest stand-alone technical college in Minnesota. With campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, the college offers degree and non-degree courses in over 45 programs. Achieving a high job placement rate, HTC prepares students for in-demand and high-paying employment opportunities.

Last updated by mdibba : 2022-04-28 11:07:30