I highly recommend you absolutely do *not* send your son to culinary school before he gets some exposure to a real kitchen ... the assisted living facility is NOT representative of how a real restaurant kitchen operates ... restaurant kitchens are a "different beast" and are a cross between a high level hospitality business and a war zone. It is not the same thing.
While the skills and certifications obtained in culinary school are invaluable, without your son being able to put what he learns into the proper context, his experience at a school will not provide the benefit it otherwise would. It is putting the cart before the horse ... and you will not get the biggest bang for your education buck.
I would suggest he gets a job in the kitchen of ONLY a top restaurant ... ideally as a food prep, assistant to the Garde-manger/pantry cook, etc.
Even if a food handling position is not possible, then as a dishwasher. There is lots of time ahead for a 15yr old to get into food preparation and behind the cooking line. If he is reliable
and lets his intentions be known to management, he won’t likely have to suffer behind the “Hobart” for too long. Any food-handling experience (if he had any) at the assisted living facility won’t be hurt by a stint as a dishwasher ... He needs real restaurant experience.
To get his foot in the “right” door , accept whatever pay or hours they have, however limited or not “ideal’ as they happen to be. Importantly, do *not* go to a lesser or short order restaurant ... hold out for the best that is available. And be willing to transport him a little further away to obtain the right position if there is nothing local.
Because you won't be able to critique local restaurants' "back of the house" to know which of them are well run and have staff and culture that your son will get the most from; here are a few ideas to help make a choice ...
1) Determine who are the most famous chefs in the area and do EVERYTHING you can to get your son into that kitchen ... as I said, even as a dishwasher.
While going to the kitchen of a famous chef does not assure you of finding the perfect environment (particularly as many top chefs are *very* tough to work for) it is *much* more likely that those kitchens will be the most robust and professional. Additionally, having been in the kitchen of a renown chef makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE as an employment reference.
To find out who these chefs are, review local newspapers... ask other people in the restaurant business ... also, call the director of the best culinary program of your local community colleges and ask that person both who the best local chefs are (in their opinion) and which restaurants might have the best kitchens. Often, those community college culinary programs are directly recruited from by better restaurants.
2) other than selecting a restaurant based on its (or its Chef’s) reputation ... a back-up plan might be to get your son into a major national franchise restaurant that is at the higher end of the dining spectrum such as Steak-and-Ale etc ... These operations by necessity, have very well thought-out procedures and controls. Such a restaurant will instill good habits ... and also be a good reference for future jobs ... such as one in the kitchen of a top chef as mentioned above.
Finally ... when it comes to what culinary programs are out there ... you might take a look at this website: www.cookingschools.com