As president of Epicurean Charitable Foundation of Las Vegas, Jason Shkorupa understands the importance of obtaining a degree. As part of its mission, ECF offers full-ride scholarships for financially underprivileged Clark County students pursuing careers in hospitality or the culinary arts. Along with a monetary award, scholarship recipients benefit from the support and guidance of the ECF mentorship program, which pairs each student with a member of the board for the duration of their education.
Shkorupa serves as vice president of food and beverage for MGM Grand, the country’s largest resort casino, overseeing all restaurants, employee dining, culinary departments, stewarding, bars, lounges, cocktails, catering, conventions and banquets, and all future food and beverage development.
A graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Shkorupa states that, “The degree programs help you become better at learning; they prepare you for the world of business and any career path you take. The degree program, along with experience, is extremely important. One of the things we are focused on and that makes a difference is emphasizing that getting that degree can set students apart in their field and ECF helps them get the experience necessary. All of the skills taught that go into obtaining a degree are necessary to advance to a leadership role.”
In 2009, Shkorupa joined ECF and his goal is to “align the hospitality industry’s affiliation with the community through support of the educational system, related organizations, charities and associations.” According to Shkorupa, pursuing a degree, especially an advanced education, can define a student. And since ECF also pairs a mentor with students receiving a scholarship, the combination is very important to giving that person an edge in the job market.
“My degree prepared me to be a leader,” Shkorpua stated. With his education, he was able to reach a position of responsibility of enormous magnitude with MGM Grand and pay it forward with his work at ECF, including personally mentoring those in the program.
Debbie Hall is practically a Las Vegas native (34 years and counting) and loves experiencing everything in Southern Nevada from the Las Vegas Strip to the surrounding mountains and Lake Mead. She also teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and loves sharing her knowledge. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.