Home PRESS RELEASE Applications Now Open for Fall 2024 California Healthy School Food Pathway Pre-Apprenticeship

Applications Now Open for Fall 2024 California Healthy School Food Pathway Pre-Apprenticeship

by Ohio Digital News

Paid seven-week program offers entry point to a career in healthy, scratch-cooked school food

California residents interested in exploring a career in scratch-cooked K–12 school food can now apply to become a Pre-Apprentice through California Healthy School Food Pathway. The program is administered by the Chef Ann Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting scratch cooking in schools. 

Pre-Apprentices are hosted by school districts across California. Over seven weeks, Pre-Apprentices receive paid on-the-job training, complete online courses, and network with other school food professionals. Almost 200 Californians and approximately 50 school districts are currently participating in the program, which is the largest cohort since it launched in 2022. 

“School food can be an incredibly fulfilling culinary career, particularly when it’s rooted in scratch cooking,” said Chef Ann Foundation Senior Director of California Workforce Programs Emily Gallivan. “As in other culinary careers, scratch cooking in schools involves a lot of skill and creativity. Cooking for kids is special because you’re not only supporting their health and learning, you’re influencing their relationship with food and cultivating their eating habits for life.” 

Healthy School Food Pathway was designed to support districts’ school food staffing needs as well as student health. Since the start of the pandemic, schools nationwide have reported school food staff shortages to be a persistent challenge. 

2024 study conducted by the California School Nutrition Association and the Chef Ann Foundation revealed the rate of school food job vacancies in California is three times higher than the national job vacancy rate for public school teachers — a sector that lost 9% of its workforce since the pandemic began. California’s universal free school meals program has also increased demand for workers.

“California was the first state to enact universal school meals, which was a monumental victory for children’s health,” said Chef Ann Foundation Chief Executive Officer Mara Fleishman. “We know that universal meals significantly increases the number of students participating in school food programs. Without enough employees to keep up with higher demand, schools are often forced to rely on serving kids pre-packaged and processed foods instead of fresh, healthier meals prepared from scratch.” 

Healthy School Food Pathway offers one solution to pervasive underemployment in the sector. Pre-Apprenticeship graduates can participate in a more comprehensive Apprenticeship, which is nine months long and also paid. The Pre-Apprenticeship is registered with the California Department of Apprenticeship Standards, while the Apprenticeship is registered with both California and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Teresa Vigil, a Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship graduate, offers this advice to anyone considering participating: “Do it! You will never regret learning … and helping serve others. You will learn about things that make you more confident in your current position and even think of going into higher positions to reach [your] dreams.”

Apply by August 26th.

Source: Chef Ann Foundation

Source link

related posts