As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel in regard to COVID-19, with the economy improving and more people being hired, we are also seeing these recent gains reflecting the continued disparities between race, gender, socioeconomic class, and education levels. To combat this persistent issue and provide greater opportunities for more people, policymakers, employers, and organizations must find ways to bridge education and employment.

 By 2025, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs reports that 50% of the workforce will need to be reskilled, yet few organizations offer the resources for employees to learn these new skills. The future of work will require a mix of foundational soft skills and job-specific technical skills to be successful; however, in a recent study conducted by Forbes, it was discovered that only 9% of organizations prioritized both of these skills. As there are many global changes occurring right now, it is the perfect time for employers to take stock of the situation and rethink what skills should be emphasized and in what ways.

Chef Bruno’s Hospitality Academy, a program at Caterina’s Club, is actively breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness in Orange County through job and skill training for at-risk teenagers. The nine-week long program introduces students to the hospitality industry at large and trains the students in restaurant-specific skills. Students learn directly from executives from major hotels, hospitals, culinary schools, and businesses who offer insight on future opportunities as the students enter the workforce. 

The Hospitality Academy provides the opportunity to learn essential skills, build their resumé and allow for a one-of-a-kind career exploration experience. As students learn about all aspects of the hotel and restaurant industries—from cuisine to administration to financial literacy—they are able to create a broad foundation of necessary skills that will carry them forward no matter their career path. These skills will enable the future generation to have the essential tools to break the cycle of homelessness in their community. 

With a growing automotive workforce, it will be incumbent for future generations to develop a broader educational foundation and set of soft skills to ensure accessibility to employment opportunities. It is imperative for our society to begin reassessing how we can cultivate these skills and opportunities, which not only helps the next generation of employees but also offers massive returns for employers and communities overall. 

Chef Bruno’s Hospitality Academy has successfully bridged this gap between education and employment, with 643 graduates. Allowing students to develop an array of invaluable skills will be essential for their futures. Discover more about the groundbreaking work being done at the Hospitality Academy here.

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