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Top tags: hospitality mentors  hospitality workforce  Kansas ProStart Invitational  mentoring  ProStart 

Investing In The Future

Posted By Les Padzensky, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

More than 120 students representing high schools from across the state demonstrated their knowledge of restaurant management and culinary arts skills at this year’s Kansas ProStart Invitational, held on March 7-8 at the Wichita Marriott. 

 

This was our 16th annual ProStart Invitational.  It is amazing to see the creativity and innovation these students bring to the competition.  ProStart is the centerpiece of our restaurant & foodservice educational programs and plays an important role in attracting and preparing talented young people for careers in our industry. 

 

Think back when you were in high school.  There might not have been restaurant management or cooking competitions, but you might have participated on a sports team.  Having the opportunity to compete against the very best talent from across the state was an honor.  That is what it is like for many of these students. 

 

When we were in school, they used to offer Home Economic foods class.  Many schools now focus on Career and Technical Education (CTE). Schools receiving funds for CTE programs are required to gear curriculum to prepare students for a future career.  KRHA has a strong ProStart program and much of this is due to the passionate teachers in the classrooms across Kansas, focusing their lessons on industry standards by teaching culinary techniques, restaurant management, and food safety procedures. 

 

I am proud to be part of the KRHA team that provides these types of opportunities.  It takes many individuals to make the event a success.  Thank you to Neeley and Lisa and the rest of the KRHA team that coordinate all of the details.  Thank you to the industry leaders that supported the teams as a mentor as well as those that assisted as judges.  In all, over 50 individuals helped support the event.  As an industry, we support many other organizations, but don’t always invest in the future of our own industry.   I want to personally thank the over 40 organizations that supported the event as a sponsor or with in-kind donations.  Without the support of industry, the event would not be possible. 

 

One-in-three Americans’ first job is working at a restaurant. Whether the students choose our industry as a career, or a stepping stone on the way to another profession, the skills they are learning will be critical for future success.  ProStart students are learning soft skills such as time management, decision making, professionalism, teamwork, communication skills, and a few industry-specific skills such as culinary techniques and restaurant principles.

 

It is up to us as leaders in the industry to take an active role by investing in our future.  ProStart helps students take the next step towards a rewarding career in our industry.  Giving your time as a mentor, guest speaker or judge lets you network with potential employees.  It also provides you with a sense of fulfillment as you help students reach their potential.    

 

 

Wichita Heights High School

Management - 1st Place

 

Olathe Public Schools

Culinary - 1st Place

 

Tags:  Kansas ProStart Invitational  ProStart 

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Mentoring Our Future

Posted By Les Padzensky, Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2017

 

As an industry, we play a major role in developing the U.S. workforce.  In fact, nearly one in three Americans had their first job at a restaurant.  We are the nation’s largest employer of teens, making us the training grounds for America’s workers.  How we train and mentor these individuals will determine how we shape today’s students into tomorrow’s workforce. 

 

Our industry teaches vital professional skills such as teamwork, multi-tasking, customer service and time management.  These are skills that will stay with individuals throughout their careers, whether they stay in the industry or move into other professions. 

 

As a mentor, you have the chance to provide support for students’ skill and character development.  Mentors are individuals that help guide and train, giving the opportunity to positively or negatively impact others.  This is a great opportunity as well as a responsibility.  Mentors can play many different roles. 

 

       Educator – Instruct students in technical and soft skills. 

       Supervisor – Give direction and show students how they fit into the needs of the operation.

       Coach – Provide feedback and encouragement to help students meet performance expectations.

       Counselor – Help students work through problems or attitudes that affect job performance.

       Role Model – Lead by example and help students develop effective skills and habits.

 

Most hourly employees in our industry are students that need a job with flexible hours that fit their busy lives.  According to the National Restaurant Association, 28% of employees are students.  Individuals stepping into the working world don’t often have an understanding of the expectations of employment.  It is critical for supervisors to teach them early in the onboarding process the importance of keeping commitments and showing up to work when scheduled.  Teens don’t always understand that when they get their first job, they have become a member of a team.  Talk to staff about how every crew member is a part of a team and the importance of their role in that team’s success.  Make sure they understand your policy for requesting time off due to illness vs. request for other personal activities.  Most operators want students to have the opportunity to participate in school activities and with the proper planning, can accommodate requested time off. 

 

Mentors help students make the connection between their present performance and their future career.  Teens don’t often understand that what employers need most is for them to be great at their job, as that role is crucial to success for everyone.  No matter what the position, every member of the team helps guide the organization to better revenue, more effective service, and opportunity for growth. 

 

As a mentor, you play an important role in a student’s life.  By ensuring you are a positive mentor, you can help groom future industry leaders and create a high–quality labor pool.  I encourage each of you to look for opportunities to have a positive impact on our industry workforce.  The opportunities that we provide students will help them build a foundation for the rest of their career.  

 

 

Tags:  hospitality mentors  hospitality workforce  mentoring 

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