Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with students at Milwaukee Public Schools in Wisconsin about the foodservice industry and career opportunities. What an incredible experience! As a marketing executive, most of my work takes place in the office at a computer. For two, schedule-packed days I met with students in different schools within the city of Milwaukee.
I met with high school students in different classes and discussed the variety of jobs in foodservice – in schools, such as in school cafeterias and the school nutrition office, and in food companies – covering manufacturing, marketing, sales, R & D, and customer service. I was truly impressed with the work-site program that Milwaukee Public Schools offers. Students are placed in a variety of workplaces to learn vocational skills, and gain “real world” work experience. Whether the students are working in a school, nursing home or hospital, they learn responsibilities and actual job experiences.
It was all fun, but probably one of the most enjoyable parts of my visit was meeting with second and third grade students at the elementary schools to teach them about the nutrition guide, My Plate, and healthy eating habits. These children were adorable! They had so much fun learning about healthy foods and taste-testing nutritious snacks!
I’d like to thank Jane Ahl from Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), who helped me set up my schedule with the various schools/classes. She also took me to work-site locations where I met with different students and staff. What an impressive program! I’d also like to thank Terri Nolan-Hauck, Transition Coordinator at Reagan IB High School who sent me a list of “A-ha” moments her students provided after my presentation. Here’s a sampling:
“A-ha” Moments —
*People should eat more vegetables and less fatty foods.
*I found out that school lunch is real food and NOT fake!
*ES Foods makes pretty packages to get kids to eat breakfast.
*I can’t believe that I met a lady that works for a big company and makes our breakfast.
*I didn’t know that schools try to make the foods so healthy for kids.
*Fruits and veggies need to be 50% of your plate, when you are eating.
*Wow. .yogurt is considered a protein.
*We learned that healthy food is better for schools.
*Healthy food in the morning helps you be more productive.
*I thought the school wrapped our breakfast bags, I learned differently, from Amy.
*School food service is different from retail.
*I learned about the significant results students receive when they eat breakfast.
*Thank you for coming in Ms. Amy, I am going to start eating breakfast every day.
*I think I should try to eat breakfast.
* I learned how people from New York eat pizza like a taco.
Not only did the kids seem to really enjoy learning about healthy eating and foodservice, but it was a great reminder to me what an exciting and rewarding career school foodservice is for all of us fortunate enough to be involved in it!