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Treasury Sec'y Visits Chicago School to See NRAEF ProStart Course

CHICAGO - Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snow yesterday visited local Wharton High School and got a firsthand look at students participating in the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation's (NRAEF) ProStart program that encourages students to pursue careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry, according to the Foundation.

Snow's visit included observing a ProStart production class, where he watched students apply their foodservice skills in the kitchen. After the visit, Snow lunched at Olive Garden, visiting with the on-site manager as well as current ProStart students who are enrolled in the mentoring component of the program. Olive Garden is just one of the many mentoring restaurants involved in the ProStart program.

"We are very honored that Secretary Snow is interested in learning about the NRAEF's ProStart program while witnessing first-hand the positive impact this program has on addressing recruitment challenges facing the restaurant and foodservice industry," said Mary M. Adolf, president and coo of the NRAEF.

The ProStart program is a nationwide system of high school restaurant and foodservice courses linked with mentored worksite experiences. The ProStart program is comprised of state-driven industry and educational partnerships throughout the country, and it exists as the national umbrella organization for restaurant and foodservice career education.

The ProStart program is a two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the management skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Students also have the opportunity to participate in paid internships where industry managers mentor them. When students meet academic standards, complete a checklist of competencies, and participate in at least 400 hours of a mentored work experience, they are awarded the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement that signifies they are well qualified to enter the industry workforce.

Currently, nearly 44,000 high school students at more than 1,075 schools in 43 states and territories are enrolled in the program. In addition, 5,332 students are taking part in a 400-hour internship or are employed within the restaurant and foodservice industry during the 2004-05 school year.

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