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  • Writer's pictureAlexander's Restaurant

Alexander's celebrates graduation of first culinary youth apprenticeship program candidate

Teddy surrounded by Palmetto Dunes and Alexander's employees at Apprenticeship graduation

In 2021, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island became the host of the first youth culinary apprentice within the Technical College of the Lowcountry region, including Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton counties.

Teddy and Chefs in Alexander's Kitchen preparing dishes

The resort has played an important role as a training ground for apprentices for the youth culinary apprenticeship program, which serves as a workforce development tool for Beaufort County School District students.

Youth Apprenticeship at Alexander’s Restaurant Cultivates Educational Experience for Teddy Thompson

Teddy in red shirt preparing dishes with other chefs in the kitchen at Alexander's

Two years later, the first youth apprentice sponsored by Palmetto Dunes — recent Hilton Head High School graduate Edward “Teddy” Thompson — has now become the first apprentice in the Lowcountry to graduate from the program, both for youth and in the culinary cohort.

blue and white cake saying "Congratulations Teddy" with certificate in the background

This Fall, Teddy will be attending Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC to build upon the experience he gained from working with the Alexander’s Restaurant team and continue his culinary studies. He will be actively pursuing his passion and dedicating himself to developing the essential skills needed for a successful culinary career.

The Palmetto Dunes Family is Excited to Support Teddy and His Future

Abbey Hightower, director of HR and Teddy with the cake and certificate

“While Teddy was our first youth apprentice at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, we don’t plan on him being our last,” said Abbey Hightower, Palmetto Dunes Director of Human Resources. “We look forward to developing our youth apprenticeship program through our continued partnership with Apprenticeship Carolina and the Beaufort County School District’s Career & Technical Education team.”

Teddy at table with speaker overlooking audience at graduation

Palmetto Dunes Chief Operating Officer Brad Marra said that as the workforce issue has gotten worse every year around Hilton Head Island, the Lowcountry, and beyond, the youth culinary apprenticeship program has quickly become an essential tool to help turn that around.

Teddy holding the certificate surrounded by Alexander's kitchen staff

“We are excited to celebrate the graduation of the initial sponsorship for our youth culinary apprentice, Teddy Thompson,” Marra said. “This is so important for many reasons, particularly workforce development. Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is proud to be investing in the future.”

Teddy surrounded by Palmetto Dunes employees at Apprenticeship graduation

Palmetto Dunes was first introduced to Apprenticeship Carolina in February 2020 through a presentation at the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. When the pandemic began and schools went remote, Palmetto Dunes Cultural Ambassador Ellen Lam worked behind the scenes with Apprenticeship Carolina and the BCSD’s CTE team preparing the resort for recruitment when students returned to school.

Youth Apprenticeship Programs Pave the Way for Students

Teddy and a few other cooks preparing dishes in the Alexander's kitchen

Thompson interviewed in late May 2021 and he began his apprenticeship program in July 2021. Amanda Richardson, Vice President of Apprenticeship Carolina, said that with a youth apprenticeship program, companies have a remarkable chance to cultivate their workforce pipeline by welcoming talented young individuals who are eager to learn. “Apprenticeship Carolina and the technical colleges across our state are committed to building South Carolina's skilled workforce with partnerships like this with Palmetto Dunes,” Richardson said.

exterior of Alexander's restaurant with white and blue accents and large palm tree

From all of us at Alexander’s Restaurant and Palmetto Dunes Resort, Congratulations Teddy!


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