According to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the restaurant industry is the second-largest private-sector employer in the United States and currently, there are 13 million restaurant and food service employees nationwide. According to the Delaware Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry represents Delaware’s largest tourism asset with more than 1,900 restaurant locations and over 40,000 restaurant employees, Delaware’s restaurant industry creates an economic impact of more than $1.3 billion.
In 2020 the restaurant industry experienced serious worker shortages and a decline in business due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These events prompted the NRAEF to launch the Restaurant Youth Registered Apprenticeship (RYRA) Program. Delaware is one of just four states selected to pilot the program, which will go on to serve youth participants aged 17 to 24.
“We want to attract people into this industry and empower them with related training and on-the-job learning. Then we want to advance them. “We had a lot of previous grassroots efforts in the apprenticeship realm about two years ago, so we helped create benchmarks for the NRAEF,
Raelyn Grogan, Delaware Registered Apprenticeship Educational Foundation
The NRAEF apprenticeship program will have tracks for restaurant managers and line cooks. Participants will receive paid on-the-job training in a restaurant setting for front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house. Job-related education as well as classroom-related technical instruction with access to nationally recognized credentials from the restaurant industry and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Restaurant management participants also learn basic leadership, financial management, and marketing skills. Line cook participants will also learn basic culinary skills, food safety, and sanitation, along with inventory and supply management fundamentals.
Participating Delaware companies have included Platinum Dining Group, Big Fish Restaurant Group, Ashby Hospitality Group, Harrington Raceway & Casino, Harry’s Hospitality Group, Janssen’s Market, Hyatt Place Dewey Beach, and Two Stones Pub.