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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:

Technology Center of DuPage and Elgin High School Teams Take Top Honors

On Saturday, February 8th, the 13th Annual Illinois ProStart® Invitational was hosted by the IRA Educational Foundation and sponsored by SYSCO Foodservice-Chicago at Kendall College. Teams from across the state competed in the Culinary and/or Hospitality Management competitions.The Technology Center of DuPage Culinary team won the state championship for the third consecutive year. Elgin High School won the Management competition for the second consecutive year. Both teams will advance to compete in the National ProStart Invitational® in Minneapolis, Minnesota May 3rd-5th. 1st Place through 3rd Place winners have already won scholarships and prizes.


Technology Center of DuPage: 1st Place Culinary


Team  Elgin High School: 1st Place Management Team


1st Place: Technology Center of DuPage

2nd Place: Rolling Meadows High School

3rd Place: Simeon Career Academy


1st Place: Elgin High School

2nd Place: Center for Academics and Technology

3rd Place: Simeon Career Academy


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

The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) awarded $150,000 to students in pursuit of post-secondary education in the Culinary and Hospitality Management fields in a ceremony at the IRAEF’s Annual Scholarship Luncheon held on Sunday, June 22, 2014. 

Scholarships were awarded to 67 high school and undergraduate students who will attend 25 colleges and universities throughout the country. Many students have participated in the national two-year ProStart® program that combines curriculum with work-based learning experiences. 20 Current and Former Chicago Public Schools students received scholarships totaling $49,000.

The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation encourages and supports Illinois residents who are committed to pursuing careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry by awarding scholarships through a Scholarship Program. All senior high school students graduating in May/June of 2015 and undergraduate students are welcome to apply for the IRAEF Scholarship in November of 2015. 
Click here for links to additional scholarship opportunities from other organizations.


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