MCPS Establishes Hospitality Services Foundation

MCPS Establishes Hospitality Services Foundation

Students will get training and experience in restaurant management, tourism

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The Montgomery County Board of Education meets Tuesday afternoon in Rockville.

Caitlynn Peetz

Montgomery high school students next year will have access to hands-on experience in the hospitality industry, guided by county restaurant, hotel and tourism leaders.

Over the past year, the school system has been working to establish the Hospitality Foundation, the system’s fourth foundation, which will provide training at 10 county high schools that house related programs.

The county’s school board approved the plans Tuesday and the foundation will launch July 1.

Students who participate will have access to opportunities to “enrich career readiness experiences in the hospitality, restaurant management and tourism industry,” beginning next school year.

Some students will be able to get career certifications before graduation, participate in internships and routinely work with restaurants and hotels, according to school system staff.

The foundation was formed in collaboration with restaurant and hospitality leaders, including Bethesda-based Marriott International executives, Montgomery College staff, co-founders of Matchbox restaurants and fast-casual restaurant chain Cava.

“What we, with an opportunity to form a foundation, are trying to do, is offer another opportunity for students,” said Andy Chaves, who leads Marriott’s Youth Strategies & Partnerships and Workforce programs. “You are the key to every one of our futures.”

The Montgomery County Council earlier this month set aside $40,740 for a “kitchen incubator,” a food hall comprised of about 20 businesses started by entrepreneurs in the food and craft industry. The incubator is expected to support the industry, which is expected to grow by 14% by 2026, according to federal labor analysts.

“It seems like it was a great idea just waiting to happen,” school board vice president Pat O’Neill said of the new school system foundation. “It will lead to so many opportunities for our students.”

The school system’s first foundation, construction trades, started in the mid-1970s and students have built 41 houses.

Houses are built over two years and revenue from sales are used to construct the next house, according to school board documents.

The school system also has automotive trades and information technology foundations.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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