The goal was to get these programs up and running this past fall, but in July, the college announced a delay in the move. Since then, both the college and Higher Education Partners have agreed to vacate their agreement.
“At some point, it became fiscally undesirable for both parties,” Forsstrom said.
She said the community college would like to have a site for the programs in Lynn to take advantage of a cluster of food businesses there. The process to locate a space is now subject to an open bidding process with the state.
Higher Education Partners Vice President Bill Luster, a former Salem city planner who has also served as the executive director of the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, had taken a leading role in the deal.
He echoed Forsstrom when he said in an email: “We could not complete the deal because it became fiscally undesirable for both parties.”
North Shore Community College took over these college-level programs from Essex Aggie in 1998 when county government dissolved, Forsstrom said. The programs, however, remained on Essex Aggie’s campus.
About 140 students are enrolled in the programs, with 40 students attending the one-year associate degree cosmetology program and the remaining 100 culinary students in various stages of completing their degrees, Forsstrom said.
Cosmetology students “will all complete their program by the end of May,” Forsstrom said. The college cannot accept new cosmetology students without a license.
The culinary students are being asked to complete as many hands-on cooking courses as they can this spring before the kitchens close for good. They will be able to fill other academic requirements later. The college does not plan to admit new students into the culinary arts program until it comes up with a transition plan.
Forsstrom could not say what ultimately might happen to both programs. The college will be discussing the situation with the faculty union.
“We are going to do the best we can for the programs, for the students and the faculty,” she said.
Incoming North Shore Community College President Patricia Gentile, who takes over Jan. 2, has expertise in operating such workforce programs, Forsstrom said.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.