California residents interested in exploring a community-oriented career in K-12 school food can apply now to Chef Ann Foundation’s (CAF) Healthy School Food Pathway Pre-Apprenticeship program. This paid, work-based learning experience prepares individuals for job opportunities in school food programs focused on serving students healthy and delicious meals. 

The Pre-Apprenticeship spans seven weeks and includes 84 hours of work experience at a participating school district in California; self-paced online courses; and live virtual learning sessions. Pre-Apprentices are mentored by experienced school food professionals who are passionate about children’s health and creating positive change in their community.

“There have been so many people I’ve met during my career working in the school food space who say they wish they knew about it as a career path sooner,” CAF Senior Director of California Workforce Programs Emily Gallivan said. “The Pre-Apprenticeship program was designed to really provide an opportunity for individuals to get first-hand experience in school food, while at the same time lift up those already working in the field.” 

The Pre-Apprenticeship is open to all California residents, including current school food service employees seeking a professional development opportunity. Applicants do not need prior food service experience to apply. 

Individuals who complete the Pre-Apprenticeship can continue their training in healthy K-12 school food by participating in CAF’s comprehensive Apprenticeship program, which takes approximately 9 months to complete and is also paid. 

The Pre-Apprenticeship Fall 2023 application period opens November 13, 2023 and closes February 12, 2024. Interested individuals can learn more about the program and apply here. A list of California school districts participating in the Pre-Apprenticeship program can be found here.

CAF will also be hosting an informational webinar on November 16, 2023 at 3 p.m. ET to give potential applicants the opportunity to hear from former and current program participants. 

Supporting Student Health

Gaby Flores, a school food worker with Santa Clara Unified School District, was the first person to complete both the Healthy School Food Pathway Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship programs, which were launched in 2022. One of Flores’ most notable responsibilities was overseeing the school kitchen at Scott Lane Elementary, which served over 350 students every school day. 

“One of the main things that inspired me to join the program was to contribute to changing the food menu offered by the schools,” Flores said. “The possibility to help students enjoy better quality and healthier meals is fundamental to reaching their potential.” 

Source: Chef Ann Foundation

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