Washington, DC, April 05, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Brinker International, Inc., one of the world's leading casual dining restaurant companies and owner of Chili's® Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy®, has announced their commitment to enroll 250 apprentices into the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) program developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). HSRA is the first-ever earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship program created for the nation’s restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry.

With 250 apprentices, Brinker has made the largest HSRA commitment in the nation, expressing a strong interest in offering their Team Members the additional skills, management training and opportunities that will advance their careers and increase their incomes.

“This apprenticeship program will provide education and training opportunities to create a more defined career path for the millions of Americans who work in restaurants, foodservice and hospitality,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the NRAEF. “With support from companies like Brinker, we are working together to build a well-trained workforce that meets the needs of our labor-intensive industry.”

“The restaurant industry is known for being a stop along the way in most people’s career, but our industry is in jeopardy if we don’t show Team Members a clear path to long-term growth, so at Brinker we’re leading the way,” said Rick Badgley, senior vice president and chief people officer at Brinker. “Our goal is to prepare our Team Members for their ‘next’ and by partnering with the NRAEF, we are able to take our current internal apprenticeship program and now provide Team Members with official industry credentials, which are transferrable. This gives Team Members a foundation of industry accomplishment for their next step.”

The NRAEF and AHLA were awarded a $1.8 million contract from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in the fall of 2016. With Brinker’s support, NRAEF and AHLA are aiming to enroll 1,000 apprentices into the program. 

Apprenticeships are proven to reduce turnover costs, increase productivity, result in higher job satisfaction and create a more skilled and competitive workforce. Apprentices will acquire nationally recognized credentials and be equipped to pursue a variety of management level positions across the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry.

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About Brinker International

Brinker International, Inc. is one of the world's leading casual dining restaurant companies. Founded in 1975 and based in Dallas, Texas, as of the fiscal second quarter ended Dec. 27, 2017, Brinker owned, operated or franchised 1,682 restaurants under the names Chili's® Grill & Bar (1,630 restaurants) and Maggiano's Little Italy® (52 restaurants).

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include:  ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship Project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a  hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry. For more information on the NRAEF, visit ChooseRestaurants.org.

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Jasmine Jones
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
202-315-4101
jajones@nraef.org

Aisha Fletcher
Brinker International, Inc.
(800) 775-7290
Media.Requests@brinker.com