Restaurant Workforce Builds Careers Empowered by Apprenticeship

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation joins U.S. Department of Labor in celebrating career advancement during National Apprenticeship Week

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In dining rooms and kitchens across the country, restaurant apprentices are learning the skills and responsibilities that will get them ahead in their industry careers. While many may not associate apprenticeship with the restaurant industry, this year during National Apprenticeship Week, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) is celebrating the successful role it is playing in building opportunity for industry workers in the years ahead.

Through apprenticeship, restaurant employees establish industry careers with a clear path to professional growth. Restaurant apprenticeship merges hands-on training inherent in a foodservice environment, mentorship by restaurant staff, a formal training curriculum, and Department of Labor (DOL)-certified credentials. Employees emerge trained and equipped to scale management and leadership roles in their workplace.

“So much of what is needed to succeed and grow in a restaurant career is learned on the job, making the industry a great fit for registered apprenticeship,” said Rob Gifford, president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). “Our industry is full of talented people, and we have a lot of runway for them to grow and become the next chefs, managers, and leaders.”

In an industry where 9 in 10 managers started in entry-level roles, apprenticeship is an especially attractive way for individuals looking to gain the knowledge and skills to develop a long-term restaurant career and achieve economic mobility. Apprentices receive a guaranteed wage increase during their course of study, and their DOL-backed credentials are transferable to other restaurant and hospitality workplaces.

“I was looking for another option besides college, so this was the perfect opportunity to learn, work and grow in this program. For my career, I think it’s meant everything because I learned how to be professional. I learned how to work out real world problems and just be a better person overall,” said Daniela Fernandez, a participant in the NRAEF’s Restaurant Youth Registered Apprenticeship (RYRA) program in Colorado.

A designated Apprenticeship Ambassador by the DOL, the NRAEF is creating industry apprenticeship opportunities through its Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC), which houses its Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship Program (HSRA), RYRA, and Veteran Apprenticeship and Labor Opportunity Reform Act (VALOR) programs.

In July, the NRAEF was awarded a five-year $12.2 million contract – the largest ever awarded to the Foundation – by the DOL to grow its HSRA program by 5,000 participants. Since establishing itself as the first recognized apprenticeship program for hospitality management, the HSRA program has grown to include line cook, hotel cook, kitchen manager, restaurant manager, lodging manager, and maintenance employee programs. For more on RHLC apprenticeship programs, visit

Now in its ninth year, National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide celebration hosted by the DOL. Throughout the week, industry, labor, equity, workforce, education, and government leaders will host events to showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeship for building the economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities. 

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF):  
As the supporting philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF’s charitable mission includes enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development, and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower, and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready/HOPES – Partnering with community based organizations to provide people with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and the Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited apprenticeship programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF, visit Click here for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s 2022 Annual Impact Report.  

SOURCE National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

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