The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced that Brinker International, Inc., one of the world’s leading casual-dining restaurant companies, is the NRAEF’s first SkillBridge employer, offering the innovative management training program in its Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants. SkillBridge provides military servicemembers with the specialized training they need to transfer into successful restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality careers.  

In celebration of the program, Brinker International, Inc., will join the NRAEF in announcing this program in alignment with the 2022 Military Foodservice Awards and training, held in conjunction with the National Restaurant Show in Chicago and Armed Forces Day on Saturday, May 21. Offered in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, SkillBridge helps transitioning service members prepare for a Department of Labor approved restaurant management apprenticeship program, or to immediately enter the workforce.

As a 12-week program incorporating hands-on work experience and front of the house and back of the house instruction, SkillBridge participants also Offered in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, SkillBridge helps transitioning service members prepare for a Department of Labor-approved restaurant management apprenticeship program, or to immediately enter the workforce become proficient in product quality and cost control, as well as sales and marketing.  

“Transitioning service members come with tremendous skills that our industry’s restaurant, foodservice and hospitality operations desperately need and want,” says Rob Gifford, President of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “We are grateful to Brinker International for being our first SkillBridge employer and for championing job and career opportunities in our industry for our nation’s heroes.” 

For Chili’s, the SkillBridge program is a welcome simplification to a process they’ve believed in for years, giving them a much easier conduit to recruit these desirable additions to the civilian workforce. 

“We thank our military members for their service and value their leadership experience. We’ve focused on attracting, identifying and retaining strong talent transitioning out of the military into civilian careers for many years, and welcome the opportunity to help them transfer their skills into rewarding restaurant careers,” says Rick Badgley, Executive Vice President and Chief People and Administrative Officer of Brinker International. “We’re all about making people feel special and showing them how much they matter. Our partnership with the NRAEF and DOD in bringing the SkillBridge program to life at Chili’s is another way for us to show our support.” 

In 2019, Chili’s committed to enrolling 250 apprentices into the Foundation’s Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) program, and that number has grown to more than 2,000 to date. HSRA is part of the Foundation’s new Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center, which offers three nationally-accredited training programs to restaurant employers – Line Cook, Kitchen Manager and Restaurant Manager – through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. The Center joins with employers like Brinker International, Inc. to ensure a seamless process of identifying and enrolling employees, implementing standards and building an internal training program and, finally, awarding nationally-recognized credentials to graduating trainees. For more on The Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center, visit  

Industry News, Labor & Employees, Chili's