A new grant will help the Department of Public Instruction streamline the way food service workers serve students in cafeterias. This grant from the United States Department of Agriculture is funding food and nutrition training for food service workers across the state.
Deb Egeland, deputy director of DPI Child Nutrition and food distribution, said when running cafeterias across the state, there is a pattern of meals workers need to be familiar with.
“We have 1,300 cooks across the state. We expect at least 650 to sign up for this training,” Egeland said.
The grant will allow for eight hours of training for frontline workers and 40 for food service directors and managers. The department has enlisted the help of a former food service director who has years of experience in the business.
“She will be working with us on developing the classes and some of the logistics of where we will have them,” Egeland said.
The USDA has invested $778,000 to fund training not only for North Dakota, but also for Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Virginia, and Washington.
“We are a state with minimal funds to run our office. If we want to do extensive training, then we count on getting extra money,” Egeland said.
Training also provides incentives for workers who complete it.
“We can give $500 to the managing director and $100 to frontline staff who complete the training,” Egeland said.
Production and finance, such as offerings and service portions, are some of the key components discussed in the training.
“We’d like them to feel secure in their jobs, so they don’t quit,” Egeland said.
The training also includes assistance for tribal schools. Egeland also says that she hopes this training will help prevent food waste, especially with the cost of food rising.