Hospitality Ohio is invested in supporting educational and developmental strategies to better prepare a skilled workforce for the foodservice and hospitality industries. Since 2000, we have excelled at connecting people to rewarding career opportunities.

Hundreds of different career options are available, from chefs, servers, management personnel, bartenders, pastry chefs, purchasing, banquet and catering, to supervisors, accountants, suppliers, farmers, truck drivers, marketing specialists, IT, HR as well as president/CEO.

The restaurant industry is home to entrepreneurship and job opportunities, with a path to success for everyone of all ethnicities and backgrounds. With a little training, you can take your skills and work anywhere in the world. If you are a people person, enjoy being part of a team, are customer service focused, and love food, explore your career options.

The foodservice and hospitality industries, comprised primarily of restaurants, is a driving force in Ohio’s economy. It provides jobs, builds careers, and plays a vital role in communities throughout the state.

The foodservice and hospitality industries provide:

• flexible workhours • rapid advancement • training • diversity • team environment • workplace variety

There are countless stories of people starting at entry level positions and working their way up into positions of additional responsibility and increased pay. It almost happens daily! With passion, flexibility, dependability and a willingness to learn you can be the next success story.

Restaurant Ready

Restaurant Ready is a highly successful, collaborative  training program that helps individuals who have faced barriers to employment - ranging from justice-involved, differently-abled populations to past addiction - prepare for careers. Restaurant Ready participants represent diverse backgrounds and life experiences.  

This training program is competency based with interactive adaptable materials which engage, inform and prepare individuals for a hospitality career.

We are pleased to welcome Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries (LMM) as our newest Restaurant Ready site.  LMM  offers women incarcerated at the North East Reintegration Center (NERC) the opportunity to engage in a comprehensive program which includes counseling, support services and culinary arts training. Learn more, here.  

Interested community-based organizations, please contact INFO@ORAEF.ORG.

                                         Who, What & Why

Watch the video to see if hospitality could just be the career for you!


Hospitality Institute of Ohio partnered with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to launch a HOPES (Hospitality Opportunities for People (re)Entering Society) program to train and prepare justice-involved individuals for jobs and careers in the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industries in Central Ohio.

To prepare and train individuals reentering society, Hospitality Ohio utilizes the NRAEF training framework to collaborate with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) and Alvis. This program is part of an U.S. Department of Labor grant.

HOPES helps justice-involved individuals gain industry-specific skills, facilitates career exploration, and addresses barriers to sustained employment, with the ultimate goal of increasing employment opportunities and reducing recidivism. Participants are required to complete the training and achieve at least one industry credential to successfully graduate from the program. The HOPES candidates are seeking employment,  with employers primarily located in Franklin County.

The restaurant industry is well-suited to offering justice-involved individuals a fresh start. It has a long history of being both a first job opportunity as well as offering second chances to people from all backgrounds.

The HOPES Process

The Ohio HOPES Team is entering the final phase of the grant process. This phase focused on finding employment for interested justice restored individuals. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) identifies eligible candidates for the HOPES program who are at least 18 years of age and 20-180 days from their release. Some candidates will have received industry training during their incarceration, while others had experience prior to  being incarcerated.

Alvis, our community-based service that specializes in treatment programs, connects with interested candidates to access if their interests and skills are suitable for the HOPES program. Alvis initiatives their training which includes ServSafe and Restaurant Ready. Additionally, Alvis provides coaching and case management, wraparound services, employment placement and post follow-up support. Hospitality Ohio's role is to connect interested employers with compatible candidates to provide a career pathway.


HOPES Ohio Team

  • The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will help to identify eligible candidates for the HOPES program.

  • Alvis will play a key role in providing interested candidates coaching, wraparound services, training and oversee employment placement.

  • Hospitality Ohio will connect individuals with employment opportunities through their network of restaurant, foodservice and hospitality employers.

Why the Restaurant, Foodservice & Hospitality Industry?

  • Careers are accessible, diverse, and opportunity-rich. Restaurant, foodservice and hospitality careers often do not require a high school diploma, GED, licensure or certification to get started.

  • Restaurants employ more minority managers than any other industry and 90% of all restaurant managers started in entry-level positions.

  • Restaurants need a well-trained workforce and employers are looking for qualified staff familiar with new health and hygiene guidelines, HOPES participants receive ServSafe training which is widely recognized and fulfills many local requirements.

Training & Employment Partners

The HOPES program works with justice involved employers who are dedicated to meeting employees where they are at in their life and career stage.  Employers are able to  provide training, skill development, positive feedback and an opportunity for success. Justice restored candidates are eager to work, learn and better themselves. Some will even have industry experience. For additional information, please contact

Federal Bonding Program

Bonds are available free-of-charge to employers who hire applicants that have had "risk" factors in their personal background.


Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit available to employers. It is designed to encourage employers to hire individuals from certain target groups including veterans, ex-offenders, long-term unemployed and summer youth, among others.


Nationally, the restaurant industry employs 15 million people,              

1 in 10 working individuals.

For some, it is their first job and others their chosen career. The restaurant industry offers a path to success for men and women of all ethnicities and backgrounds. 


Career Development for the Restaurant Industry

As an employer, you know firsthand how difficult finding the right staff is and sometimes it can be even more difficult to keep them.  To help employers retain and enhance the skill level of existing staff members, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) launched the ServSuccess program.

The program features:

• Professional Certifications 

• Online Learning Suites 

• Interactive Study Guide

ServSuccess provides training that will advance your current staff’s careers while providing them the skills to increase their job performance as well.


Certified Restaurant Professional

-Front-of-the-House Service and Communication

-Front-of-the- House Basic Operations

-Back-of-the-House Pre-Production

-Basic Business Production

-Basic Business Operations


Certified Restaurant Supervisor

-Managing Daily Operations

-Leadership & Communication

-Safety & Regulations 

-Cost Control Fundamentals

-Controlling Costs


Certified Restaurant Manager

-Fundamentals of Financial Management

-Understanding Financial Performance

-The Purchasing Process 

-Controlling Operational Costs 

-Managing the Employment Process 

-Fundamentals of Employee Performance 

-The Marketing Process Marketing your Operation


Disclaimer: HOPES Pathways Home is 100% funded through a $4 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. This webpage was created by Hospitality Institute of Ohio and does not necessarily reflect the

official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This webpage content is copyrighted by Hospitality Institute of Ohio.