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Food Chain, High School: The First McPartnership

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McDonald's Corporation has built a research and development kitchen at the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School in Lexington, Mass.; this is the first time a fast-food operation has been linked with a public high school.

The $300,000 campus outlet is part of a cooperative program with the regional vocational school in which McDonald's donates equipment and provides 20 paid employees to run the operation.

In return, the company gets a test facility and an audience for new products, plus an opportunity to work with high-school students who may be interested in becoming McDonald's managers.

By working and taking courses, students can learn the fast-food business and prepare for positions as junior managers.

About 80 percent of Minuteman's students eat lunch at the campus McDonald's.

According to Peter C. Crafts, director of food service and training at Minuteman, the school began approaching fast-food companies about two years ago to seek support for such an operation.

"We could not increase our school budget to buy the capital equipment," he said.

Now that the arrangment is being publicized, Mr. Crafts said, "We're being inundated with calls from schools from all over the country who are interested." He added that the school is negotiating with "several" hotel corporations to build a 200-room hotel, a 1,000-seat conference center, and a shopping mall. Minuteman is a 1,200-student regional vocational school that offers a wide range of vocational subjects and required academic subjects.--ah

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