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Career and Education Opportunities for Food Service Aides in Jackson, Mississippi

For those living in the Jackson, Mississippi area, there are many career and education opportunities for food service aides. Currently, 14,910 people work as food service aides in Mississippi. This is expected to grow 23% to 18,290 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for food service aides are expected to grow by about 4.2%. 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 earn about $7 per hour or $15,370 annually on average in Mississippi and about $8 hourly or $18,630 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for food service aides are better than in the overall category of Preparation in Mississippi, and better than the overall Preparation category nationally. People working as food service aides can fill a number of jobs, such as: salad maker, cook's helper, and pantry worker.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Jackson area, including one within twenty-five miles of Jackson where you can get a degree to start your career as a food service aide. Food service aides usually hold less than a high school diploma, so 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 Jackson 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

Hinds Community College - Raymond, MS

Hinds Community College, 501 East Main Street, Raymond, MS 39154. Hinds Community College is a large college located in Raymond, Mississippi. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,398 students. Hinds Community College has 2 areas of study related to Food Service Aide. They are:

  • Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated one and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Institutional Food Workers, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated seven and one students respectively 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: Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, Mississippi photo by Yassie

Jackson is situated in Hinds County, Mississippi. It has a population of over 173,861, which has shrunk by 5.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Jackson, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Jackson cost $101,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred fifty-six new homes were built in Jackson, up from two hundred twenty-three the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Jackson are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 27.1% of Jackson residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Jackson is 9.2%, which is less than Mississippi's average of 9.5%.

The percentage of Jackson residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.4%, is more than both the national and state average. Bibleway Baptist Church, Saint Johns Missionary Baptist Church and Saint John Deliverance Temple Number 2 are some of the churches located in Jackson. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Jackson is home to the Riverhills Country Club and the Colonial Country Club as well as Smith-Wills Stadium and Lefleurs Bluff State Park. Shopping malls in the area include North Terry Road Shopping Center, Northside Shopping Center and Northtown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Jackson can choose from Days Inn-Coliseum, Econo Lodge and Regal Sales Office for temporary stays in the area.