National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. (Partner Point of View: We're in This Together)

Article excerpt

As the nation's largest private sector employer, the restaurant and foodservice industry is the cornerstone of the American economy. This $400 billion industry is fueled by its people, therefore it is imperative to educate and grow our most valuable resource--our staff. Not only do we need to focus on current employees, but also on those who have yet to join our teams. There are 12 million jobs in the industry, and 8 million more in businesses that supply the industry. Recent reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics project that between 1998 and 2008, the number of hospitality industry jobs will increase by nearly two million, of which approximately 115,000 will be management positions.

To help support this growth and develop the future leaders of our industry, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) has developed a number of initiatives aimed at introducing students to the career possibilities in the restaurant and foodservice industry; among them are the Hospitality Business Alliance (HBA) and the Mentoring Program. The HBA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to "drive and support the industry participation in School-to-Career programs and other workforce development initiatives." The HBA educational program is aimed at introducing high school students to career possibilities in the hospitality industry.

The HBA ProStart is the industry's first initiative to deliver industry-written restaurant and foodservice curricula linked with mentor training through a nationwide program. High school students learn business skills in the classroom, become acquainted with career opportunities at career workshops and on field trips, and gain practical experience during on-site hands-on internships at local restaurants and hospitality worksites. This initiative touches nearly 25,000 high school students enrolled in close to 700 schools in 36 states. …