Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Training Our Future Workforce

Aside from the economic rut restaurants have faced in recent years, it’s still not easy running a successful restaurant. From rising food costs to employee healthcare, there’s any number of business issues owners need to address every day. One challenge that seems to be top of mind for many continues to be that of hiring qualified staff with experience in the kitchen.

For over a decade, ORLA’s Education Foundation has focused on developing our industry’s future workforce, helping build a stronger connection between the classroom and the industry. This past February, we watched as close to 100 ProStart students from around the state competed for top honors in the Oregon ProStart H.S. Culinary Championships. They represented only a small fraction of the 3,000 students statewide that participate in this two-year culinary arts program. Blending practical skills with real-world experience through internships, the ProStart program prepares these students for the future and growth into leaders our industry needs.

The team from South Salem High School is busy practicing and perfecting their meal preparation in anticipation for their trip to Baltimore, Maryland on April 27 for the 2012 National ProStart Invitational. Teams participating in this national competition are challenged to prepare a three-course meal (from scratch) in only 60 minutes. Their performance during the practical session is observed and rated by judges from leading colleges and universities across the nation. First through fifth place winning teams are awarded medals and scholarships to pursue a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

Want to get involved in this cool program? Contact Jami Scott at 503.682.4422 and find out how you can support this program through mentorship, internship or financially.

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