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biznotes-pggOn February 18, the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management hosted its third annual Public Good Gala in the Tuscan Ballroom at the Joy Burns Center. The event raises awareness and funds to support the Commercial Food Safety and Service Training (CFaSST) program, a collaboration of the Knoebel School and the Ethiopian Community Development Council/African Community Center (ACC) in Denver. Offered since 2012, this innovative program helps refugees develop the skills and knowledge needed to obtain jobs in the food service industry.

This year’s Public Good Gala was a great success, with more than 125 attendees. The evening included hors d’oeuvres followed by a four-course dinner with each course paired with wines from Napa Wine Company. Knoebel students in the school’s chapter of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality collaborated with the ACC to produce a silent auction during the event’s first hour. The menu was prepared and served by Knoebel and CFaSST students under the guidance of guest chef, Executive Chef Matt Zubrod from the Little Nell in Aspen.

The CFaSST program is a 100-hour, four-week training program taught at the University of Denver and in the Knoebel School of Hospitality Management commercial kitchen. The ECDC/African Community Center is a resettlement agency dedicated to helping refugees build safe and sustainable lives in Denver. They help refugees find housing, healthcare and jobs.

This unique program has been recognized by organizations throughout Colorado and across the country and was honored with the Worldwide Hospitality Award: Best Educational Innovation in 2014. Dr. David Corsun, director of the Knoebel School, says that the CFaSST program has achieved an incredible 84 percent job placement rate for refugees since its inception. Graduates of the program work in organizations throughout the Denver area.

“This year’s Public Good Gala was the best yet,” says Dr. Corsun. “The impact this collaboration is having on the Denver community and on our students is incredible. It is a shining example of us living our vision to: Be bold. Do good. Change lives.”

Auction proceeds and a portion of ticket sales supported the CFaSST program and Knoebel student development activities. Learn more about the CFaSST program and the African Community Center of Denver at