The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) has joined 20 other business organizations to share plans to ensure students and workers have the knowledge and skills they need to work in the modern economy. Convened by ACT Foundation and the Business Roundtable, the National Network of Business and Industry Associations is coordinating cross-sector efforts to close the “skills gap.”
“As an inaugural member of the National Network, we are committed to working alongside other industry sectors to better communicate and extend skills needed to succeed in the jobs of today and well into the future,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of strategic operations and philanthropy with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “The restaurant sector has a highly successful track record of matching industry with the classroom to create skills-based education to empower people with the training they need to achieve the long-term, rewarding careers that our industry readily offers.”
“Business, educators and job trainers must align their efforts to make sure workers have the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said John Engler, President of the Business Roundtable, an operational partner of the National Network. “Everyone here agrees that it is no longer enough to describe and quantify the gap. It is time to get to work to close it for good.”
U.S. employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled candidates to fill open jobs, creating the “skills gap.” A June 2013 report by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce projected that 2.6 million jobs in science, technology, engineering and math will need to be filled between 2010 and 2020, for example.
The restaurant industry opens doors to many different career paths including human resources, management, marketing, and sales as well as the culinary arts. The majority of restaurant sector employees across all ages and job titles say the industry provides good long-term career opportunities, and seven out of 10 say they plan to work in the industry until they retire. Through its ProStart program, the NRAEF reaches nearly 100,000 high school students in more than 2,200 secondary schools across the country. Now in its 15th year, the ProStart curriculum is being taught in 48 states as well as Guam and on U.S. Department of Defense bases worldwide. The NRAEF also maintains relationships with culinary arts and management programs at post-secondary institutions, and has articulation agreements in place to benefit ProStart students wishing to pursue advanced degrees.
The National Network represents major business sectors and is funded through a collaborative partnership of ACT Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Joyce Foundation and Lumina Foundation. Members include leaders in the manufacturing, retail, healthcare, energy, construction, hospitality, transportation and information technology sectors. They represent the source of nearly 75 percent of projected U.S. job growth through 2020 (an estimated 30 million new jobs).
At the meeting, members discussed efforts to:
- Create a blueprint of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies required for career success in core business sectors;
- Define the standards for national credentials that validate those skills; and
- Identify successful models that integrate industry-recognized credentials into secondary and postsecondary education.
“It is encouraging to see the business community unify across industry and sector lines to produce actionable solutions to close the ‘skills gap,’ especially with the power of the Business Roundtable behind them,” commented Parminder K. Jassal, Founding Executive Director, ACT Foundation, which co-operates the National Network.
Inaugural Members of the National Network of Business and Industry Associations
Aerospace Industries Association
American Health Information Management Association
American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
American Land Title Association and ALTA’s Land Title Institute
American Moving and Storage Association
American Public Transportation Association
American Welding Society
Center for Energy Workforce Development
Home Builders Institute
Interstate Renewable Energy Council
The Manufacturing Institute
National Apartment Association Education Institute
National Center for Construction Education and Research
National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
National Institute for Metalworking Skills
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
National Retail Federation Foundation
Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute
Western Association of Food Chains
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 980,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees, making it one of the nation’s largest employers. For more information on the NRAEF, visit NRAEF.org.