Brinker International has joined the National Restaurant Association Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship initiative, committing to train 250 of the program’s apprentices.
The Dallas-based casual-dining restaurant company, which owns and operates the Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy chains, said the plan is part of its partnership with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to provide on-the-job education and training to the next generation of the industry’s workforce. The plan is to offer these team members additional skills, management training and other opportunities that advance their careers and incomes.
“Our apprenticeship program provides education and training opportunities to create a more defined career path for millions of Americans who work in restaurants, foodservice and hospitality,” said Educational Foundation executive vice president Rob Gifford. “With support from companies like Brinker, together we’re working to build a well-trained workforce that meets the needs of our labor-intensive industry.”
Rick Badgley, Brinker’s senior vice president and chief people officer, said participating in the apprenticeship program is one way the company is trying to bring more experienced and well-trained employees into the industry’s workforce.
“The restaurant industry is known for being a stop along the way in most people’s careers,” he said. “We will be in jeopardy if we don’t show team members a clear path to long-term growth. That’s why Brinker is trying to lead the way.”
Badgley added that the company is determined to prepare the apprentices for their futures and rewarding careers. “By partnering with the NRAEF, we are able to take our current internal apprenticeship program and provide team members with official industry credentials, which are transferrable. This will give them a foundation of industry accomplishment for next steps.”
The apprenticeship program, the first of its kind in the restaurant and hospitality industry, was created in 2016, in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Funded by a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the program debuted last year. The DOL renewed its funding commitment for the program earlier this year. The NRAEF and AHLA plan to have 1,000 participants enrolled in HSRA by year-end.
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