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ProStart® Program

The ProStart program offers high school students practical industry experience combined with textbook learning to begin a successful career path.  The curriculum is industry relevant, addresses critical skills needed, and 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.


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


ProStart Students

ProStart students learn life, career, and employability skills while cooking up great things and having a great time doing it! Students will gain exposure to industry leaders, earn college credit, participate in state and national competitions and gain access to scholarship opportunities.

Students are ready to transition to postsecondary or the workforce upon completion of the ProStart program.


ProStart Educators

The ProStart Program is flexible for both vocational and college preparatory programs. The curriculum has been professionally developed, tested and implemented in conjunction with the restaurant and hospitality industry. The ProStart curriculum meets Illinois State Board of Education Learning Standards. Curriculum elements include textbooks, lesson plans, assessments, videos and activity book.


Becoming a full ProStart Program school offers additional benefits to the students including scholarship eligibility and access to state and national competitions.


ProStart Partners 

The restaurant and foodservice industry is one of the largest employers in the U.S. with 12.8 million employees, and an additional 2 million positions will be added over the next decade.  Here in Illinois the restaurant industry is the #1 private sector employer. To help meet that challenge, ProStart is building a pipeline of qualified individuals ready to take leadership roles within the industry. 


The IRA Educational Foundation relies on the generosity of sponsors to support our mission to build Illinois' hospitality workforce through career exploration and development programs, scholarships and image enhancement.  Your partnership play a pivotal role in the Educational Foundation through sponsorship of existing programs and services.    


You can support ProStart Illinois:


Support Illinois ProStart programs, by becoming a program partner


Support Illinois ProStart program initiatives, by sponsoring an event


 For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kathy Summers at (312) 787-4000 ext. 147 or  







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