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National Restaurant Association - ProStart leads to Cleveland Clinic job-shadowing experience

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ProStart leads to Cleveland Clinic job-shadowing experience

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Jacob Ziek’s family sold its Cleveland-area pizza chain before he was born, but the recent high school graduate inherited the hospitality gene.

Ziek, 18, spent a day shadowing foodservice and human resources professionals at the Cleveland Clinic, thanks to Sodexo. The job-shadowing experience was a result of Ziek’s participation in the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ProStart program.

As a student at Fairview High School and Polaris Career Center, Ziek studied culinary arts and hospitality management through ProStart. Last year, he joined his school’s management team, which placed second in the Ohio ProStart Invitational.

At the competition, Ziek met Jerry Paulison, a judge at the competition. At this year’s competition, Ziek asked Paulison about opportunities for job-shadowing. Paulison, a senior recruiter for Sodexo, helped arrange for Ziek to spend June 1 at the Cleveland Clinic.

Ziek spent the morning visiting kitchens in the main hospital, meeting chefs and purchasing staff with general manager John Tomlinson. “I was very impressed,” Ziek says. “They were very sharp, very astute, very kind.”

He also was impressed by the hospital’s work to launch digital menus so patients could order food the same day, rather than circling their choices on a piece a paper the previous day. And he enjoyed watching the robots foodservice employees use to transport food throughout the hospital. “It was like the Matrix,” Ziek says.

In the afternoon, Ziek talked with HR hospitality training manager Loraine Mahnick about employee relations and the clinic's hiring process. When Mahnick asked what Ziek was interested in, Ziek mentioned resolving employee conflicts. “I see myself as a mediator,” he says.

After the job-shadow, Ziek received feedback from the foodservice and HR staff he met with. “I just thought it was a wonderful experience,” he says.

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