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ProStart® Program

ProStart Illinois

The ProStart® program offers high school students practical industry experience combined with textbook learning to begin a successful career path. ProStart is a national, two-year program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills that will last a lifetime. ProStart serves over 90,000 students nationally and reaches over 3,000 students in Illinois.

The curriculum is industry relevant, addresses necessary critical skills, meets Illinois State Board of Education learning standards, and offers nationally recognized certifications. The Illinois ProStart Program goes beyond just providing a curriculum in the classroom. Connecting activities include classroom presentations, teacher training sessions, field trips, classroom speakers, coordinating worksites, providing communications vehicles for the program, public relations efforts, and awareness campaigns. For more info for students and teachers, see below:

ProStart is an industry-recognized program and brings together employers, suppliers, industry leaders and you to help develop future leaders.


ProStart Invitational: 

On Saturday, February 28th, Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) will welcome fifteen Culinary teams and nine Management teams comprised of high school ProStart students from across the state to compete in the 14th Annual Illinois ProStart®  Invitational -- a full day of culinary and restaurant management competitions. The event, held at McCormick Place, is hosted by IRAEF, title sponsor SYSCO-Chicago and host sponsor SAVOR Chicago.

Students compete for the opportunity to represent Illinois at the National Invitational (at Disneyland) where they compete against teams from 47 states (plus Guam & European military bases). The 1st - 3rd Place Teams win scholarships, prizes and trophy. For more information, contact ProStart Coordinator Jihan Murray-Smith 312.380.4117 or email


Technology Center of DuPage: 1st Place Culinary Team (2014)          Elgin High School: 1st Place Management Team (2014)



ProStart® is developing the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders. These students have proven their talent and commitment to the industry by competing and succeeding in the Illinois ProStart Invitational®.

Check out some news coverage and videos from participating teams!

Elgin High School News Coverage: Click Here

Technology Center of DuPage: Click Here

Rolling Meadows High School: Click Here

Rolling Meadows Video: Click Here

Competition Video:Click Here

Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Awards $150,000 in Scholarships to Students

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