The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s new program aims to equip service members with advanced kitchen skills—which might come in handy when they join the civilian workforce.
Through its educational foundation, the National Restaurant Association is serving up opportunity to active members of the military.
The association recently hosted service members during its first-ever Advanced Culinary Training Program (ACTP), held at the campus of the Culinary Institute of America Texas campus in San Antonio.
The quarterly program, which will continue into 2020, is bringing together culinary specialists from each of the armed forces to reinforce and build their skills in areas such as cooking techniques, kitchen techniques, menu execution, and knife skills. The inaugural program, held earlier this month, got good reviews from participants.
“My favorite part about this week is learning [what] I’ve never known before and working with the other branches to see how they do it differently,” said Diedre-Ann James, a gunnery sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, in a news release. “Overall it’s been a really, really good experience.”
Rob Gifford, president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, said the goal is to prepare those with budding skills for the civilian workforce.
“ACTP is focused on ensuring our service members have access to training opportunities to hone their skills, with the ultimate hope of preparing them for transition into civilian life,” Gifford said. “With 250,000 service members separating from the U.S. military each year, it’s an integral part of our programming to set them up for success with long-term careers in restaurants and food service.”
The initiative is one of a variety of programs that the foundation offers specifically for military veterans, including scholarships, apprenticeships, and certifications. The foundation also works with partners that hire military veterans once they leave service.
The effort reflects a broader push by the association to increase the percentage of veterans in the field. According to the foundation, veterans make up 5.4 percent of the total workforce and 2.8 percent of restaurant industry employees.