With Generation Z soon predicted to make up over a third of the global population and a quarter of the workforce, there is an increasing need to educate, incorporate, and develop opportunities for them. Chef Bruno’s Hospitality Academy is paving the way in creating the chance for teens in our community to learn about the hospitality industry and develop life-long skills to enhance their future.  

Gen Z has grown up during multiple social, economic, and political changes—the creation of the iPhone and the consumerization of technology, the Great Recession, and the first Black president, to name a few. Faced with a widening wealth gap, increasing income inequality, and rising unemployment that have affected their families, Gen Z has concerns about the economy and a lower risk tolerance.  

At Caterina’s Club, Chef Bruno’s Hospitality Academy, made in partnership with Anaheim Union’s P21 Mentorship program, breaks the cycle of homelessness by providing at-risk teenagers with an extended learning opportunity that introduces them to the Orange County Hospitality Industry at large, in addition to restaurant-specific training. Students learn about all aspects of the hospitality industry, from cuisine, restaurant service, marketing, administration, and financial literacy from our expert staff throughout the nine-week course. What’s more, executives of major hotels, hospitals, culinary schools, and businesses gave valuable insight on the potential future careers for the students as they leave high school and enter the workforce. 

Not only do the students learn invaluable skills to include on their resumes, the Hospitality Academy program imparted a unique and impactful career exploration experience. Students were assessed by staff, peer groups, and professionals in the industry on learned skills and behaviors prior to graduation, and those who graduate will be provided letters of recommendation. 

A study from 2018 found that the hospitality industry attracts more interest from Gen Z and young millennials than other industries like construction or finance, for both males (52%) and females (53%).  Additionally, it was found that Gen Z values benefits, interesting work, opportunity for growth and flexibility, and social responsibility as top criteria for a healthy and desirable workplace, all characteristics that the hospitality industry can provide. 

In its first year of the program, Chef Bruno’s Hospitality Academy is well on its way to meeting its goal of both supporting the youth and breaking the cycle of homelessness in Orange County. Learn how you can support the Virtual Hospitality Academy and our other programs here.

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