The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) ProStart program unites the foodservice industry and classroom to offer high school students a platform to discover new interests and talents, while opening doors to fulfilling careers. The Oregon Department of Education recognizes the curriculum as an official Career & Technical Education (CTE) Program.
“Foundations of Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts” was developed by subject-matter experts and is published by the NRAEF. The two levels of the curriculum – Level One and Level Two – are not designed to be sequential; this makes it possible for small schools with limited resources to offer the ProStart program to students. Learn about new curriculum and teacher resources at Textbooks.restaurant.org.
Connecting activities linking the student’s in-class education with real industry experience is important to the success of any CTE program as it helps students explore career pathways and understand various role opportunities. Best practices include guest speakers, tours, job shadows and competitions, as well as engaging an Industry Advisory Board to help support connecting activities that are relevant to today’s industry.
More commonly known as “exams,” the ProStart program offers a written assessment for each level of the curriculum. The questions meet statistical requirements for reliability, validity and rigor and are aligned with national educational standards for Family and Consumer Science education. The assessments are administered and scored following strict protocols to ensure validity. They can be conducted online or in-person.
The ProStart Certificate of Achievement (COA) is awarded to students who complete both levels of the program, pass the exams and document at least 400 hours of work experience, through which they have demonstrated specific workplace competencies. Student work experience hours may be earned through a combination of after-school and/or summer jobs, school-based enterprises and service activities, such as preparing and serving food at a shelter You can learn more about this CTE certificate here.
ProStart students who choose to pursue post-secondary school degrees/certifications often receive special consideration for scholarships, including those awarded by NRAEF, local chapters, specific post-secondary institutions or scholarship donors, as well as at events such as the state and national ProStart Invitationals. Those who have earned the COA may qualify for even more consideration. To learn more, visit ChooseRestaurants.org.
ProStart students in a recognized program have the opportunity to compete in a statewide culinary and management competition to win scholarships to post-secondary schools as well as the privilege to represent Oregon at the national level. The culinary portion consists of a team of 2-4 students, plus an alternate/team captain, who create a three-course meal using no electrical tools and two butane burners. The students create and cost out their menu following skills learned in the ProStart curriculum. The management portion consists of a team of 2-4 students, plus an alternate, who create a business plan for a restaurant model following specified guidelines, including a menu, marketing plans, floor plan and SWOT analysis. Learn more about the National ProStart Invitational.
Many top post-secondary schools in the state and nation provide special support to ProStart students via articulation and college credits, advanced placement and credit for work experience. Learn more about the National ProStart Collegiate Passport.
The ProStart program offers skill-building opportunities for educators also via NRAEF five-day “Summer Institutes.” Completion of three levels of Summer Institutes, a lesson plan and documentation of at least 120 hours of industry work experience lead to the NRAEF Certified Secondary Foodservice Educator (CSFE) credential.
If you have any questions on ProStart or additional resources, please contact Melinda Casady, ProStart & Hospitality Industry Workforce Coordinator.