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Mentoring, real-world training give ProStart vocational students the edge Exposure to restaurant industry role models, leaders help define ProStart student careers By Rick Zambrano

Nebraska culinary team at NPSI 2019.

This month, about 400 students descended on Washington, D.C. for the 2019 National ProStart Invitational (NPSI). The competition is organized by the National Restaurant Educational Foundation (NRAEF). ProStart is a comprehensive, classroom–to-work vocational program that trains students in the culinary arts and restaurant management. State competitions determine winners who then get to compete at the national level at the ProStart Invitational. Students participating in the ProStart vocational program reap enormous benefits.Take Sharon Skutchan of Lincoln, Neb., for example: she is a teacher who accompanied Nebraska’s RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 28

state champions on their trip to the national competition in D.C., and a former ProStart participant. Her experience as a student made her more grounded and a better leader, she says. Skutchan competed in both the culinary and management competitions in 2013. Additionally, ProStart motivated Skutchan to become invested in learning. As a student, she spent three to four hours, two to three times per week on ProStart within the Milford Public High School system. Now, she teaches there, helping kids learn culinary skills and recipe formulation, and bringing the training she received full circle.

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Restaurant C-Suite Magazine | Summer 2019