Southern Californian restaurant professionals will be “teachers for a day” on October 22. Volunteers with the California Restaurant Association Foundation are helping nearly 3,500 Gen Z high school students with everything from resume-writing to practical interview skills in a one day-classroom takeover called Force In Training.

Hosted in over 50 schools across the state, FIT is put on by CRAF in partnership with brands like Taco Bell and Wienerschnitzel. Restaurant volunteers bring their real-world examples and life experience to lead the three-hour FIT training, where students learn to craft their resumes, interview best practices, how to read a paycheck, guidance in mapping out a career, and much more.

“Industry leaders really bring the lesson to life. When an employer from the local community comes into the classroom to teach students how to land a job – students pay attention,” says Alyica Harshfield, Executive Director of CRAF. “We’re ecstatic to partner with so many schools on training this year.”

Restaurants play a major role in youth employment. Nearly one in three people get their start in the restaurant field. First jobs are also critical to fostering soft skills like teamwork, customer service, and responsibility – skills that may not be as intuitive for Gen Z’s digital natives.

Each school is involved in ProStart, a CRAF program that provides introductory culinary arts training and hospitality career-exploration programs for high school students. Leaders from brands such as BJ’s Restaurants and SusieCakes team up with CRAF to to provide youth the skills, certifications and resources they need to land that all-important first job.

Harshfield continues, “For 75 percent of the students we serve, this is the only job-readiness course they receive in high school. We are so grateful to the companies taking the time to invest in our students.”

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