Preparing the Next Generation of Hospitality Employees

We often hear from our members that finding qualified employees is one of their biggest operational challenges. There just aren’t enough cooks in the kitchen. PRLA works every day to spread the word to the next generation of hospitality professionals that our industry offers opportunity for a fulfilling career. We offer several programs for high school and post-secondary students to prepare for a future in hospitality:

ProStart is a high school culinary arts and management program. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum provides real-life experience opportunities and builds practical skills and a foundation that will last a lifetime.
ProStart students are already interested and engaged in the industry and, through the program, learn about the unlimited pathways the restaurant and hotel industries provide. Their curriculum gives them an understanding of food and workplace safety, kitchen skills, cooking techniques, as well as a realistic preview of professional behavior and what to expect on the job—from hours worked to job responsibilities. It also teaches the non-tangible skills that are so critical in our fast-paced industry: teamwork, professionalism, adaptability, time management, communication, and decision-making skills.
Come to the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on Wednesday, February 27 for the fifth annual Pennsylvania ProStart Student Competition, and get excited about what the next generation has to offer our industry. Learn more at

Several high schools in Pennsylvania continue to teach the AHLEI’s hospitality and tourism management program. It’s another program that works to train and teach our industry to the next generation.

Apprenticeship Programs
In 2016, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation was awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Labor to create the first ever federally registered hospitality sector apprenticeship program. Together with the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), the NRAEF launched the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project. Through this project, industry apprentices will be identified and put on a defined pathway to management-level positions through on-the-job paid training and standardized instruction. These programs will help close the skills gap and reform ineffective education and job training. The NRAEF has grown the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship to 1,000 committed apprenticeships—working in 44 states at over 300 different apprenticeship sites. Learn more at

The PRLA Educational Foundation has been awarding scholarships to students pursuing their post-secondary education in culinary arts and hospitality management programs for more than 20 years. Last year, the PRLAEF awarded 21 students with nearly $25,000 in scholarship monies. The program is currently accepting applications through March 1, 2019. For more information, please visit

Free Student Memberships
New in 2018, PRLA started offering free student memberships for high school and post-secondary students whose institution is a PRLA member. These students receive Quick Bites, Legislative Update, and invitations to chapter and state events. Not only do we want our student members to see how PRLA works for the industry and our members, but also to help them make connections with potential employers. Sign up your students at •