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National Restaurant Association - Georgia tries to upgrade schools’ culinary training

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Georgia tries to upgrade schools’ culinary training

The Georgia Restaurant Association is working with the state's Department of Education to enhance vocational culinary training for secondary school students that help create job opportunities for them once they graduate.

Karen Bremer, the GRA's executive director, was one of several business and industry leaders named to the board of education's Career Pathways task force to help oversee an overhaul of its technical curriculum. She will focus on updating academic courses and training for the hospitality and tourism track.

Bremer said she is working closely with Lee Gray, executive director of the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia, which coordinates the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation's ProStart program in the state, to help establish curriculum for students interested in culinary and foodservice management careers.

ProStart is a two-year, career-building program that teaches students culinary techniques and offers hands-on training inside and outside of the classroom. In addition, many university hospitality programs accept ProStart courses for college credit or offer scholarships to its students.

"We're working with the board of education to try to confirm ProStart coursework as the state's approved curriculum," Bremer said. "We're pushing to incorporate nutrition, ServSafe food-safety training and courses in sustainability."

She did not indicate when the board of education would give its approval to incorporating ProStart into high schools throughout Georgia, but said that providing this type of enhanced vocational curriculum would increase job opportunities statewide.

"There are all sorts of jobs in Georgia that we can't fill because applicants lack the proper training," Bremer noted. "It is so important that the state is now utilizing the business community to help develop career pathways for our young people. We want students to know that if they are willing to learn and have a good work ethic, there are great opportunities available to them in our industry."

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