If you are a “food” person and enjoy cooking, have you ever considered pursuing a culinary career in K-12 schools? Over the years, foodservice operations in K-12 schools have changed dramatically. Even before the $4.5 billion “Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act” was announced, I already felt very impressed by the foodservice operations in Dallas and Austin school districts when I toured the managed services accounts there in 2007. Managing a K-12 account is challenging, demanding, and rewarding.
Foodservice managers in K-12 segment are required to follow applicable nutritional restrictions and provide healthy food with low fat, low sodium, and fresh ingredients. On top of that, cost control is extremely important. As suggested in this New York Times video, K-12 schools in New York City must serve a lunch under the cost of $2.67 (meal + labor). Managers are expected to design a non-repeatable menu with eye-appealing and tasty food because kids can also be very demanding.
If you are a hospitality student or professional with an F&B background, will you consider working in the K-12 segment? Why or why not? If you are a recruiter for a managed services company, what are the challenges do you experience when recruiting candidates for the K-12 segment? What are your strategies in attracting young talents?
To watch the New York Times video, you may visit the following hyperlink: http://video.nytimes.com/video/2011/03/05/nyregion/100000000700483/city-critic-school-lunches.html
For years, I have heard many colleagues expressing their concerns of students’ poor written communication skills. Indeed, lack of writing proficiency does not seem to be an isolated problem for one particular academic program or college.
According to Dianna Middleton’s report on Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, Corporate America is complaining that business-school graduates could be “data-savvy” but may not be able to communication effectively. Some writing deficiency examples include: using complicated words over simple ones, rarely getting to the point, failing to adapt the writing for multiple audiences, and writing incomplete sentences. As a result, consulting firms like Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. do not allow new hires from working on any written proposal independently until they are ready.
Many business schools are making efforts to help students improve their writing skills. The Wharton school at University of Pennsylvania is planning to double the communication coursework to 12 classes starting in 2012. University of Rochester created two writing coaches positions. Northeastern University requires that student papers be graded by both professor and writing coach.
Students, on the other hand, do not seem to pay enough attention to this problem. Cornell University, for example, offers an elective writing class and an elective oral communication class in its executive M.B.A. program but found inadequate interest of signing up for the writing class.
It may seem that students themselves have not noticed how serious this problem is. Why will students struggle in writing? What can high schools, universities, and Corporate America do to improve students’ writing proficiency? In the world of “constant digital communication,” will text-messaging and tweeting replace formal written communications for good? What are your thoughts?
Middleton, D. (2011, March 3). Students struggle for words: Business schools put more emphasis on writing amid employer complaints. The Wall Street Journal, B8. Also available online via http://on.wsj.com/f1wExT
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