With new restaurants, food concepts and dining experiences launched every day, restaurants represent one of the most dynamic industries on the planet. In the United States alone, the nation’s 1 million restaurants and food service businesses contributed $799 billion to the economy last year (4 percent of GDP) and represent a workforce of nearly 14.7 million that is expected to grow to 16.3 million by 2027.
What restaurants need
With that growth comes a need for well-trained people. While getting in on the ground floor is still a great option, the next generation of talent is looking for a more defined career path, and apprenticeship is becoming an attractive solution.
Under the leadership of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the U.S. Department of Labor has approved the industry’s first-ever Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship program. More than 30 companies across the country have signed up to participate in the earn-while-you-learn program that offers standardized training and certification in restaurant or hotel management.
What restaurants gain
“Apprenticeships will create more affordable job training and career development opportunities for the millions of Americans who work in restaurants, food service and hospitality,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the NRAEF. “This initiative is a win-win for both businesses looking for a well-trained workforce with standardized skills and employees seeking certification across multiple middle to higher positions.” Direct benefits of apprenticeship include reduced turnover costs, increased productivity, higher job satisfaction and a more skilled and competitive workforce.
“The expansion of apprenticeships into restaurants and hospitality is an excellent example of how the government and business are working together to build a stronger workforce that meets the needs of our labor-intensive industry. It also helps us attract more people and puts them on a clear pathway to meaningful jobs and careers,” added Gifford.