With the growth of the restaurant/hospitality business, there are shortages. Not in concepts, managers, storefronts, or even food. Shortages are seen by the recruits/students and placements for those who are going to either fill the shoes of their predecessors or make new tracks for themselves. But there is hope on the rise. With the implementation of many academic programs as early as high-school, these students get a great step in the right direction toward their culinary and hospitality careers.
These groups and programs are not limited to only the high-school level, but even into the private sector. Starting from the beginning, young cooks and management trainees in high school can enroll in one of the programs offered either through CRAF-PROSTART or ROP (Regional Occupational Program.) Courses are added to the student’s standard curriculum and help introduce and teach many of the college and workplace skills necessary. If an immersion setting is more of the student’s style, the ORANGE COUNTY SCHOOL OF THE ARTS full-blown culinary school is the place to be. In higher education, more than seven different options are available in and around the Orange County area alone. The culinary programs at LONG BEACH COMMUNITY COLLEGE, CYPRESS COLLEGE, ORANGE COAST COLLEGE, and CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY POMONA are focused on creating the “best cooks” in pastry and savory on their way to being powerhouse chefs. THE ART INSTITUTE and the CULINARY LAB GROUP, members of the private sector, fill some of the cracks in classroom education as well as online.
With the back of house set, CYPRESS and OCC strive to prepare a great hospitality crew along with CSULB and CSU POMONA, offering restaurant and hospitality management education as well. The CSUs take it a step further as they offer master programs available for their students. There has been no greater opportunity for a budding chef. With these programs in place, they are only missing one thing, the support from their local businesses. Restaurants and hotels need to be willing to host talks or apprentices/interns. Suppliers and distributors can guest speak as well as make donations and work with the programs.
Show these students that there is a thriving and welcoming community for newcomers!