All across the country, in school nutrition programs on the east coast, the west coast, north, south, and everywhere in between… it seems like there is a critical shortage of staff. We are experiencing it here in Maine… and directors that I talk to all over the country are often operating with as many as 25% of their positions unfilled at any given time.
Situations like this, working at below optimal staffing levels, make providing the best school meals and the best student/school nutrition dept engagingment challenging. Working with subs or being short staffed altogether often leads to more convenience foods, less attention to detail and probably what troubles me the most is less innovation. We strive to keep all of our positions filled, but – the applicants aren’t even out there!
This problem has us wondering if people really know what a #dreamjob working in school nutrition can be?
Before I moved over into school nutrition, I had been working in food & nutrition management in the long term care setting. Prior to that, in a hospital setting. During the first 15 years of my career, I became used to the 3 meals per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Add to that alternating weekends and holidays… after a while, I longed for a little more predictability to my schedule. I envied my friends who had become teachers, who had weekends off, who seemed to have more time with their children. So … I jumped over to school nutrition. Working in school nutrition, not only did I find that I had more predictability and continuity in my work life, I also found my real passion and more than a career. I love that we are #feedingthefuture and influencing the eating habits of the next generation. I love introducing children to new foods and new flavor combinations. I love teaching kids and families about healthful eating. I really love my staff and the passion that we share all toward the same goal.
And… I love having control over my schedule. When my children were young, once I moved over to working in school nutrition, I loved that I had weekends and holidays off, free to go on family adventures.
My staff & I talk about this all the time. Working in School Nutrition programs is an amazing job! And, the schedule is family friendly and predictable. Our staff even visit career events at vocational & culinary schools. We have a story to tell…. working in school nutrition is a challenging and rewarding career. Shaping the nutrition habits of young eaters will have lasting impact. Creatively crafting recipes and menus while maintaining compliance with School Nutrition guidelines is fulfilling & exciting. We have an amazing team and we really love what we do.
It’s almost like careers in school nutrition are the best kept secret in the food & nutrition industry. But we aim to get the word out! We have openings… and there are school nutrition openings across the country! Chefs, Registered Dietitians, Dietetic Technicians, Cooks, Bakers… all others interested in working in the food and/or nutrition industry: if you are looking for a change, consider a career in school nutrition! Schools in your area are looking for qualified candidates… you just might find your passion while you are #feedingthefuture!