The Texas Restaurant Association’s (TRA) philanthropic organization, TRA Education Foundation, has teamed up with Texas-based Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing 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.

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.

Watch a short video clip of Richard Winemiller, culinary arts instructor at Bowie High School in Austin and a couple of his students, on how important it is to look professional and expressing their thanks.

“As an industry, we are strongly invested in building opportunities for restaurant careers in Texas,” says Jerry Walker, TRA 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,” says TRA Education Foundation chairman Chef Charles Duit, director of foodservice at Calder Wood Retirement Community and chef instructor at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. “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,” says Michael Penn, senior vice president of marketing, world-wide licensing and international sales for Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing. 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.”

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