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New two-year culinary program coming to four MPS high schools to connect students to in-demand careers

MILWAUKEE – Four MPS high schools will launch the pilot of a new two-year culinary program this fall that helps students get a head start in the hospitality industry, a field expected to experience higher than average wages in careers ranging from restaurant management to food service.
Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver, The Bartolotta Restaurants, Hospitality Democracy, SURG Restaurant Group and other prominent local restaurant groups along with the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Education Foundation will come together for an announcement of the ProStart® program on Thursday, February 4, 2016 at MPS’ Washington High School of Information Technology.

ProStart is a curriculum created by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation specifically designed for high school students. The ProStart program in Wisconsin is managed by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Education Foundation.  It features real-world culinary arts and food service management opportunities, helping students learn skills that can last a lifetime. Whether students dream of being world-class chefs or managing restaurants, ProStart gives students a great start.
The local hospitality industry is an important partner in the pilot launch and operation of the ProStart program in these four MPS schools.  The hospitality industry has committed to being a major funding partner and staff from Milwaukee’s finest restaurants and the hospitality industry will participate with the schools as mentors.
A culinary and food service management program is a natural fit for Milwaukee.  Restaurants are a driving force in Wisconsin’s economy with thousands of restaurants, hotels and other food service operations offering employment opportunities throughout the state - especially in the Milwaukee region.  In fact, restaurants account for 1 in 10 jobs in Wisconsin according to the National Restaurant Association.
A fundraising campaign is expected to be launched in the spring to help fund the cost of launching and operating the ProStart program in these four schools.
ProStart will build on the unique strengths of each participating school:

  • Bay View High School, which launched a partnership with Arts @ Large and local restaurant Honeypie to connect students to culinary arts
  • James Madison Academic Campus, which offers a NAF Academy of Finance that can help students better understand the business aspects of fields such as culinary arts
  • Harold S. Vincent High School, which offers an agriculture program including connections to the food and beverage industry
  • And Washington High School of Information Technology, which offers a NAF Academy of Hospitality and Tourism

Photo: Hospitality and tourism academy students from MPS' Washington High School of Information Technology


Tuesday, February 2, 2016MILWAUKEE – Four MPS high schools will launch the pilot of a new two-year culinary program...

Posted by Milwaukee Public Schools on Thursday, February 4, 2016

See more photos from the event on our Facebook page.


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Milwaukee Public Schools is committed to accelerating student achievement, building positive relationships between youth and adults and cultivating leadership at all levels. The district’s commitment to improvement continues to show results:

  • More MPS students are taking college-level Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses;
  • The MPS Class of 2017 earned $62+ million in scholarships; and
  • MPS is home to seven of the state and nation’s top high schools according to U.S. News and World Report and the Washington Post.

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