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Career and Education Opportunities for Food Service Aides in Joliet, Illinois

Food service aide career and educational opportunities abound in Joliet, Illinois. Currently, 47,690 people work as food service aides in Illinois. This is expected to grow by 20% to about 56,980 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for food service aides, which sees this job pool growing by about 4.2% over the next eight years. In general, food service aides perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.

A person working as a food service aide can expect to earn about $9 per hour or $18,710 yearly on average in Illinois and about $8 hourly or $18,630 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for food service aides are better than earnings in the general category of Preparation in Illinois and better than general Preparation category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: cafeteria worker, pantry goods maker, and pantry worker.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Joliet where you can study to be a food service aide, among 132 schools of higher education total in the Joliet area. The most common level of education for food service aides is less than a high school diploma. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a food service aide if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Food Service Aide

Food Service Aide video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, food service aides perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.

Food service aides clean work areas and silverware. They also store food in designated containers and storage areas to inhibit spoilage. Equally important, food service aides have to inform supervisors when supplies are getting low or equipment is not working properly. They are often called upon to carry food supplies and utensils to and from storage and work areas. They are expected to portion and wrap the food, or place it directly on plates for service to customers. Finally, food service aides weigh or measure ingredients.

Every day, food service aides are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for food service aides to receive and store food supplies and utensils in refrigerators and other storage areas. They are often called upon to assist cooks and kitchen staff with various tasks as needed, and furnish cooks with needed items. They also use manual or electric appliances to clean and trim foods. They are sometimes expected to package take-out foods or serve food to patrons. Somewhat less frequently, food service aides are also expected to mix ingredients for green salads, molded fruit salads and pasta salads.

Food service aides sometimes are asked to stir and strain soups and sauces. They also have to be able to distribute food to waiters and waitresses to serve to patrons and stock cupboards and refrigerators, and tend salad bars and buffet meals. And finally, they sometimes have to cut, slice or grind meat, poultry, and seafood to ready for cooking.

Like many other jobs, food service aides must be reliable and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Joliet include:

  • Fast Food Cook. Prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus. Duties of the cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • Restaurant Chef. Prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.
  • Short Order Cook. Prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. May take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Food Service Aide Training

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has a less than one year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated three students in 2008.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago - Chicago, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, 350 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654-1593. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,900 students and an admission rate of 48%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago has a one to two year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated seven students in 2008.

Saint Augustine College - Chicago, IL

Saint Augustine College, 1333-45 W Argyle, Chicago, IL 60640-3593. Saint Augustine College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,275 students. Saint Augustine College has a one to two year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated forty-eight students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Joliet, Illinois

Joliet, Illinois
Joliet, Illinois photo by Joliet82

Joliet is situated in Will County, Illinois. It has a population of over 146,125, which has grown by 37.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Joliet, 100, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Joliet are priced at $172,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-four new homes were constructed in Joliet, down from seven hundred sixty-nine the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Joliet are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, public administration, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 29 minutes. More than 18.6% of Joliet residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Joliet is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Joliet residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.9%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. All Nation Church of God in Christ, All Saints Greek Orthodox Church and Holy Cross Catholic Church are all churches located in Joliet. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Joliet is home to the Will County Courthouse and the Timber Ridge Business Park as well as Joliet East Side Historic District and Rock Run County Forest Preserve. Shopping centers in the area include Joliet Mall Shopping Center, Caton Crossing Town Square Shopping Center and Twin Oaks Place Shopping Center. Visitors to Joliet can choose from Great Escapes Travel, Hampton Inn Joliet/I-80- IL and Bel-Air Motel for temporary stays in the area.