WHS to continue ProStart® Program

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Restaurant management & culinary program blends classroom with real-life experience

Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) programs across the state are fast-tracking curriculums that provide career paths to students. With a projected growth rate of 1,000 jobs every year for the next decade, hospitality is an obvious partner industry.

Cherokee's Washington High School (CWHS) has responded by implementing the ProStart® program, a two-year curriculum that teaches both culinary and hospitality management skills.

"The opportunities for young people in our industry are endless," said May Schaben, Executive Director, Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation. "The ProStart program prepares students for immediate employment and establishes a foundation for further learning. In fact, many collegiate hospitality management and culinary arts programs offer college credits for ProStart courses."

The Iowa foodservice and restaurant industry currently employs 140,300 workers, or nine percent of Iowa's total workforce, and is expected to add 10,700 jobs over the next decade, the majority of which will be management level positions.

Through the ProStart program, Iowa high schools are building a more prepared, highly skilled workforce to meet the industry's growing demand for professional employees. As one of 18 Iowa high schools participating in the ProStart program, CWHS students combine classroom work with mentored work experiences at local restaurants.

"We are excited that CWHS ProStart students will be connected with local industry," said Lisa Breyfogle, CWHS ProStart Educator. "Hands-on experience is an effective way for students to connect academics to real-life situations."

Once students complete all program requirements, they are awarded the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement, giving them access to scholarships and articulation agreements with leading colleges and universities. Currently seven community colleges across Iowa, in addition to Iowa State University, offer hospitality and management programs.

The Iowa Restaurant Association exists to create and promote awareness of hospitality as a professional career path and to strengthen and improve the educational offerings, opportunities and services for the advancement of the restaurant and retail beverage industries in the state of Iowa.

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