Brinker International, Inc., one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies and owner of Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy, has announced its commitment to enroll 250 apprentices into the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) program developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). HSRA is the first-ever earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship program created for the nation’s restaurant, foodservice, and lodging industry.
With 250 apprentices, Brinker has made the largest HSRA commitment in the nation, expressing a strong interest in offering their Team Members the additional skills, management training and opportunities that will advance their careers and increase their incomes.
“This apprenticeship program will provide education and training opportunities to create a more defined career path for the millions of Americans who work in restaurants, foodservice and hospitality,” says Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the NRAEF. “With support from companies like Brinker, we are working together to build a well-trained workforce that meets the needs of our labor-intensive industry.”
“The restaurant industry is known for being a stop along the way in most people’s career, but our industry is in jeopardy if we don’t show Team Members a clear path to long-term growth, so at Brinker we’re leading the way,” says Rick Badgley, senior vice president and chief people officer at Brinker. “Our goal is to prepare our Team Members for their ‘next’ and by partnering with the NRAEF, we are able to take our current internal apprenticeship program and now provide Team Members with official industry credentials, which are transferrable. This gives Team Members a foundation of industry accomplishment for their next step.”
The NRAEF and AHLA were awarded a $1.8 million contract from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in the fall of 2016. With Brinker’s support, NRAEF and AHLA are aiming to enroll 1,000 apprentices into the program.
Apprenticeships are proven to reduce turnover costs, increase productivity, result in higher job satisfaction and create a more skilled and competitive workforce. Apprentices will acquire nationally recognized credentials and be equipped to pursue a variety of management level positions across the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry.