Sufia immigrated to the United States after meeting her husband, Joshua Davidson. He is a soldier at Fort Carson and met Sufia in her home country of Afghanistan. The two were married in 2009 and in the first six years of their marriage had two beautiful children.
Sufia loved her new home and life but was still missing one thing she really wanted: a job. While attending GED test preparation classes at Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD), she was visited by Lacey Miller, PPLD’s Library Instruction Designer. Lacey told Sufia’s class about a new training opportunity: Food Industry Training. The certification program prepares participants in an intensive four week format to become qualified line and prep cooks.
“Miss Lacey told us that with this class you could learn lots of skills and you could find a job in the restaurant industry,” Sufia said. “I wasn’t sure I could do this, but then I talked to my husband. He told me to go do it because in my home country, I wouldn’t have an opportunity like this because I am a woman.”
Sufia enrolled in the program and began her intensive training during May 2019. Now, she’s a Food Industry Training graduate and working in a prominent Colorado Springs hotel.
The Food Industry Training program is recognized by the Pikes Peak Workforce Center and several other workforce centers in Colorado as an approved training option. Students learn the foundational skills necessary in the food service industry, such as: kitchen safety, knife skills, basic math, recipe reading, and cooking methods. Food safety and sanitation are part of every class. Real world life skills, including dependability, adaptability, memorization, time management, and team work are also of great emphasis. Work readiness skills like resume preparation, job search, and interview practice and preparation are included, too. Food Industry Training graduates have been hired by The Broadmoor, The Mining Exchange Hotel, UC Health hospitals, senior living centers, and others.
In the past, the Food Industry Training program has generously been hosted in kitchens at other organizations throughout the city. But, without a deep freezer, gas line, and necessary appliances, students have been unable to experience the full scope of working in a commercial kitchen and our program offerings have been limited to times when kitchen space was made available to us. This year, and with your support, PPLD is bringing this program in house with the renovation of kitchen space at Library 21C. Turning this space into a state of the art kitchen will help us grow and improve the Food Industry Training program and create new food education programs for our patrons. These programs, when we have been able to offer them, have been wildly popular!
In the time of COVID 19, when millions of Americans are experiencing joblessness and uncertainty, PPLD is proud to offer programs that will help members of our community get back to work. The Food Industry Training program helps not only individuals like Sufia, but area restaurants and businesses that are hurting in the aftermath of this public health crisis.
Will you support PPLD, and programs like Food Industry Training, by donating today? We serve you, your family, friends, and neighbors and exist to provide resources and opportunities that impact individual lives and build community.