As the economy slowly started to open and businesses began to rehire during the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Antonio Food Bank rolled out a revamped workforce training effort. Focusing on its two areas of workforce training, Culinary Arts and Warehouse/Logistics, the Food Bank strengthened its offerings and community impact with the addition of becoming a State Certified Training Provider for the Texas Workforce Commission, coupled with receiving a certification from the American Federation for Culinary Arts.
Culinary student and chef in the San Antonio Food Bank kitchenJohn Michael Johnson was one of those individuals whose life was impacted and transformed by the Food Bank’s revamped training programs. After experiencing years of addiction and facing homelessness, John Michael made the decision to participate in the Food Bank’s Culinary Arts Training Program. On his first day of class, he met Chef Greg.
“Over the 10-week course he got to see the obstacles I had, he was my mentor, my daily motivation, my blessing and made me a confident cook!” John said.
Graduating at the top of his class, John discovered job opportunities and interviews – some arising before he even graduated, like an interview with The Dominion Country Club.
“Interviews are my kryptonite; interviews delve into my past. And people judge you on your past. Just because I have ups and downs that doesn’t make me a bad person. I never get the job I apply for!” John explained.
But Chef Greg walked him through the process, went over important talking points, and gave him the confidence he needed.
“I got the job solely because of the San Antonio Food Bank Culinary certificate I received. I know this is just the beginning – the only way I can thank the San Antonio Food Bank is to succeed! I can’t wait to come back and say I’ve been working for The Dominion for 10 years. I also can’t wait to be that mentor Chef Greg was to me,” John said.
Committed to the priority of stabilizing households with sufficient food to eliminate food insecurity and the risk for hunger, the Food Bank’s broadened effort and framework works upstream to tackle the bigger challenges of poverty. Framed under the banner of Secure San Antonio, this holistic work encompasses areas beyond food, such as housing, education, and employment.