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National Restaurant Association - Recognizing the impact of Latinos on the industry

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Recognizing the impact of Latinos on the industry

Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through Oct. 15, is honoring the achievements of the Latino community, and the impact its culture, and legacy have had on America. During this month-long recognition, the National Restaurant Association is reflecting on how Latinos have changed the way we cook, our culture and even how the restaurant industry does business.

Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, and Fernand Fernandez, interim president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, recently penned an opinion article on how the Latino community has influenced the foodservice business. Here are some highlights:

  • Each year, Hispanic businesses contribute a staggering $700 billion to the national economy. According to the State of Latino Entrepreneurship report, the Hispanic population is starting businesses at three times the rate of the general population. What does that mean? Essentially, it’s a large economic catalyst resulting in more jobs and money going back into local economies around the country.
  • There’s been significant growth in the number of restaurants owned and operated by Hispanic entrepreneurs. The restaurant industry, the second largest private-sector employer in the country, employs more than 15.1 million Americans, of which 25 percent are Hispanic.
  • The National Restaurant Association and USHCC are committed to providing career-enhancing programs that create a diverse and inclusive workplace, at all levels and growth opportunities within the restaurant and hospitality industry.

“Through our Educational Foundation’s training programs, such as ProStart, which provides culinary and management education to more than 140,000 high-school students, Restaurant Ready, which assists at-risk youth, and the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship program, created in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Department of Labor, we can continue to support and empower this hard-working group,” Sweeney said. “Education and workforce development are two values at the core of both our organizations’ missions.”

The Association’s apprenticeship program, in particular, offers its participants on-the-job, paid training and standardized instruction. This, Sweeney said, would increase the skill sets of those individuals who are pursuing management-level careers.

Sweeney and Fernandez agree that educational and apprenticeship programs are only part of how their organizations can help nurture and grow the next generation of America’s workforce.

“We will continue to empower their ambitions because they continue to drive social and economic change across our nation,” they wrote.

Read the full op-ed here

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