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National Restaurant Association - Foundation honors veterans, offers career assistance

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Foundation honors veterans, offers career assistance

On Veterans Day, we show appreciation for military service men and women – past and present. But, when soldiers leave active duty to return to civilian life, the work of finding rewarding careers begins.

Since 2001, more than 2 million veterans have returned from active duty. In the next few years, another 1 million will join them. With that, the unemployment rate of veterans is more than twice the national average. That’s why the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is developing programs to assist veterans seeking careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry. It is expected that more than 800,000 jobs will be created over the next five years, and the foundation is determined to play a pivotal role in ensuring veterans compete for those rewarding careers.

“Our goal is to reduce unemployment within the veteran population and employ at least 10 percent of separating U.S. military personnel in foodservice careers,” said Rob Gifford, the foundation’s executive vice president.

According to Gifford, that pathway to success will be made more accessible through the training and apprenticeship programs the foundation offers. Here are some of the opportunities available:

Apprenticeship program to include veterans. This new initiative will accept soldiers transitioning out of the military and provide hands-on training and education that could lead to management and executive careers in the industry. The Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA), developed in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and U.S. Department of Labor, is located at 300 sites around the country, has more than 1,000 civilian commitments and boasts a 97-percent retention rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, restaurant, foodservice and hospitality apprenticeships can translate into managerial positions with salaries of $50,000 to $60,000 a year.

Armed Forces Culinary Forum held Veterans Day week. This weeklong training program provides intensive instruction to military foodservice professionals and gives a taste of career opportunities. The forum is at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia in Napa Valley, Calif. It brings together various branches of the military with some of the most celebrated foodservice professionals in the country. The event allows military service men and women to learn from experienced culinarians and network with them about future civilian careers in the industry.

2018 Hormel Heroes Scholarships announced. The scholarships, created by Hormel Foods and administered by our foundation, awards $10,000 each to two students with military backgrounds, who are pursuing careers in the culinary arts or foodservice management. This year’s winners are Nelson Lister and Marie Stimpson.

Find out more about the foundation’s initiatives to help service men and women

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