The Texas Restaurant Association's (TRA) philanthropic organization, TRA Education Foundation, teamed up with Texas-based Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co. to provide 17,000 Dickies chef coats, at a value of more than $350,000, to high school students enrolled in 220 Texas ProStart culinary arts and restaurant management programs during the back-to-school season. The partnership was announced at a recent press conference held at Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth. Rep. Charlie Geren was the featured speaker and guests included TRA and TRAEF board members, Fort Worth ISD administrators, and students and instructors from Fort Worth ISD schools offering culinary arts and restaurant management programs. All of the Fort Worth ISD culinary programs utilize the Texas ProStart program and curriculum. Richard Winemiller, culinary arts instructor at Bowie High School in Austin, and a couple of his students, share how important it is to look professional and express their thanks for the chef coats. https://youtu.be/r4x9-c-5QHk Texas ProStart is the TRA Education Foundation's flagship program. It is an industry-based, two-year high school culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum that prepares students for careers in the restaurant industry. More than 20,000 students are enrolled in the program across the state. "As an industry, we are strongly invested in building opportunities for restaurant careers in Texas," said Jerry Walker, Texas Restaurant Association President and owner of J & J Subway Holdings, Dallas. "The TRA and TRA Education Foundation work closely with our Texas ProStart schools to connect them with industry mentors, offer professional development, and assist with facility and program development." "Career and Technical Education programs like Texas ProStart allow students to gain valuable skills through their academic experience, and expose them to the workplace," said TRA Education Foundation Chairman Chef Charles Duit, director of foodservice, Calder Wood Retirement Community and chef instructor at Lamar University, Beaumont. "This generous partnership with Dickies is a tremendous gift to our students who are pursuing dreams of a career in this industry." "We know today's culinary arts students are tomorrow's leading chefs and restaurant management. We strive to allow these students to maintain focus on getting the job done by wearing durable, functional and comfortable Dickies chef wear," said Michael Penn, senior vice president of marketing, world-wide licensing and international sales for Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co. North America. "With this partnership, Williamson-Dickie is aiming to help build a foundation for students by giving them a valuable tool that prepares them for college, a career and life."