Chili's Grill & Bar will start training military service members to become restaurant managers.
The casual-dining chain will be the first restaurant company to take part in SkillBridge, a program backed by the Department of Defense and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The program will allow military members to spend the last 12 weeks of their service at Chili's, training to become a certified shift leader.
The idea is to ease military members' transition back into the civilian sector. For Chili's, it will serve as a valuable pipeline for employees with strong leadership and service attributes.
"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,” said Rick Badgley, EVP and chief people and administrative officer of Chili's parent Brinker International.
Brinker and the NRAEF will announce the program at the National Restaurant Association Show this Saturday, Armed Forces Day. The first class of SkillBridge participants will start at Chili's on June 2.
It's Brinker's second announcement in less than a week geared toward strengthening its employment proposition. Last week, it said it would extend free education benefits to employees' family members. The moves come as the industry continues to face challenges with hiring and retaining workers.
Brinker is also part of the NRAEF's Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship program, which has brought more than 2,000 apprentices, including military personnel, into its restaurants as line cooks, kitchen managers and restaurant managers.
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