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Hospitality Minnesota Report: Culinary Scholarship Recipients

“Will this ever end?” “Will the industry survive?” “What will dining out look like on the other side of COVID?” “Will people travel like they use to?” These are the questions that consume our days right now, except on a recent Tuesday.

On August 4, more than 30 teachers from around the state gathered–some virtually, some socially distanced in person at Grand Casino Hinkley—for an in-depth training in the Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation’s (HMEF) signature workforce development programs, ProStart and the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program (HTMP). When the school year begins, these educators will help students—the future leaders of our industry—learn the fundamental skills they will need to build what comes next for our industry.

ProStart, a program of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), is a two-year industry-driven curriculum that builds practical skills and delivers real experiences, from culinary techniques to restaurant and foodservice management. Beyond their classroom learning, student participants can elect to compete in a state invitational, with the winning teams going on to compete in the national contest.

HTMP, an offering of the American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Institute (AHLEI), focuses on fundamental concepts within different functions as well as on customer service and the “soft” skills needed in any profession. 

Both programs serve as launching pads for many students who go on to choose our industry as the focus of their post-secondary education and careers. In Minnesota, these programs reach nearly 5,000 students in more than 90 schools and we are intent on expanding these programs further

Each year, through the Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation, we engage leaders from across the hospitality and education sectors to serve as teachers, mentors, and judges, and to provide internship opportunities in settings that let the students put their learning to work in the real world. 

Through these experiences, many students decide to go on to study culinary arts and hospitality and tourism management in college. We help some students do that through awarding our annual scholarships.

We were disappointed when we had to cancel the luncheon to celebrate this year’s scholarship recipients. It’s always an energizing experience to be in a room full of young people who are choosing our industry to start their careers. Coming together to celebrate the future helps keep us focused on the long-term possibilities, so we held the event online with our teachers, students, parents and HMEF board members. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to celebrate those who will become our innovative leaders of tomorrow.

This year’s HMEF Scholarship recipients are:

Emily Arends, Culinary Management, Johnson and Wales University

Anna Bauerle, Hospitality Management, Bradley University

Trevor Beaudry, Hospitality Management, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Gabrielle Boyles, Hospitality Management, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Kylie Christensen, Hospitality Management, Normandale Community College

Marco Leon Gil, Culinary Management, Saint Paul College

Ivan Guzman, Hospitality Management, Normandale Community College

Ryan Klatke, Culinary Management, Normandale Community College

Rachel Meyer, Culinary Management, Southwest Minnesota State University

Aryanna Mulroy, Hospitality Management, South Dakota State University

Ivy Pankuch, Hospitality Management, Normandale Community College

Netzy Garay Ramirez, Hospitality Management, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Jill Remmele, Culinary Management, Southwest Minnesota State University

Randella Swanson, Hospitality Management, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Chloe Thomas, Hospitality Management, Saint Cloud State University

Adrianna Winter, Culinary Management, North Dakota State University

We extend our congratulations and best of luck to all, and we can’t wait to see where their careers take them.

Each one of these students has benefited from the commitment of teachers and mentors who have stepped forward to help them imagine a future in our industry. Teacher trainings, such as the one held recently, allow educators to connect with each other and with restaurant, foodservice, hotel and event management professionals to deepen their understanding of the industry and share best practices for engaging students and delivering the curriculum.

Before the pandemic, when the job market was tight, finding and developing great staff was named as the No. 1 concern across all the sectors Hospitality Minnesota serves. 

We imagine the same will be true following the pandemic, but for different reasons. In the kind of uncertainty we are facing, our workforce will be innovative, resilient and forward-focused. The young people we are educating now will be the ones to bring a new perspective and the innovation to create something new and disruptive to move our industry in new directions. There’s a great deal of uneasiness about the future until you get in a room with the teachers preparing to welcome students into the ProStart and HTMP programs. Then, it’s easy to begin imagining a brighter future where new and innovative restaurant and food service businesses thrive with the enthusiasm and leadership of these young people just entering our industry.  Let’s be sure to give them a hand, and a hand up! 

Liz Rammer is the president & CEO of Hospitality Minnesota, which includes The Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations.

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