Elected officials attend a luncheon at Stratford University in Woodbridge to learn more about the school's degree programs. [Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Elected officials attend a luncheon at Stratford University in Woodbridge to learn more about the school’s degree programs. [Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Derrick Wood knows barbeque, but he honed his culinary and business skills at a private university in Woodbridge.

Owner of Devine Barbeque in Motion, and a Dumfries Town Councilman, Wood received his Bachelors Degree from Stratford University in 2011. He continued on at the for-profit college to obtain his MBA in hospitality management.

Now working as employee at the school, another hat he wears, Wood has found its his mission to tell the community about the work being done at Stratford, and about how its program set him up for success.

“It challenged me early on to sit down and do the business plan, to learn how to the research methods and to learn how to do the fact check,” said Wood.

Wood, and a small handful of other elected officials came to an open house at Stratford University’s Potomac Mills location at 14349 Gideon Drive in Woodbridge on Thursday. The list of elected officials included Virginia House Delegate Micheal Futrell, Prince William County School Board member Betty Covington, Dumfries Town Councilwoman Helen Reynolds, and Wood

While there, they took a tour of the three-story academic building where students take courses in business administration, culinary management, and information technology.

Director of Career Services Peter Bartell says the school prides itself on its 70% employment placement rate for graduates, helping them find jobs after they complete their classes. While the school’s culinary programs are its most popular, there is a strong demand for their IT graduates, as well, in places like offices to vacation resorts.

“I think I’m going to have someone who is going to hire some if my culinary graduates and they end up hiring my IT people,” said Bartell.

One of the drawbacks for his placement efforts can students, such as the ones who graduate from the school’s culinary program, who themselves choose to work in the field.

Stratford has six campuses in Virginia including its Woodbridge center, a campus in Baltimore, and a center abroad in New Delhi, India.