Fatimah Jackson has dreams to own a business in the food industry, but as a single mom, she faced challenges like time and money in acquiring the needed culinary skills.
Jackson heard Jefferson State was offering free culinary training, jumped at the chance, and has turned the opportunity into a position at Renaissance Ross Bridge and confidence her own fledgling business will succeed.
“I wanted to open my own business, and I wanted to get the proper credentials,” Jackson said about the decision to register for the training. “I stared working in fast food as a teenager—a lot of people don’t like it, but I liked it. I liked the fast pace. It just never really left me.”
After working in the retail and banking sectors, Jackson, a Birmingham native, knew she wanted to get back into food service. But after a short stint in a culinary school that ended with an issue with her financial aid, Jackson didn’t know when her opportunity would come—until a mentor mentioned the free training offered by Jefferson State.
Jefferson State and the Alabama Community College System worked alongside the state’s Hospitality and Tourism associations to create the training program for people seeking immediate jobs in the food services industry.
The 16-hour course was offered on a virtual platform, with a supplemental in-person lab at the college’s Shelby-Hoover Campus. Immediately following the in-person training, several local properties conducted interviews for employment.
Jackson said she is grateful for the training and the opportunity to connect with Renaissance Ross Bridge, where she now works as a line cook.
“I love it,” Jackson said. “A lot of my time is limited so it gives me some flexibility, and I had an opportunity to start a plant-based food business called Solcial Veg, it allows me time for that also.”