Culinary & Hospitality Sector Analysis​

C&H Sector Overview

Key takeaways from the landscape analysis for the culinary and hospitality sector in the Chicagoland area:

  • High growth in the region, low barriers to entry, and often significant emphases on prior experience and references over formal education/training.
  • Higher earning occupations have a significant overlap with traditional business skills of marketing, management, operations, entrepreneurship, etc.
  • Culinary roles require long hours, a low starting wage, and physically demanding work. More importantly, the trajectory from novice cook to a higher-earning chef follows different routes for different people. Note that occupations in baking rarely reach living wage threshold.
  • Hospitality roles have significant variance in workplace culture and operations, ranging from large hotel chains to smaller boutique businesses.

Overview of Private Training Landscape

Based on Based on WIOA Programs and Chicagoland CareerPathways, the private training landscape features:

  • An emphasis on culinary occupations: A majority of training programs are in culinary competencies aligned to basic credentials.
  • Very little formal hospitality training: Only a handful of programs through WIOA with limited visible outcomes. Students who obtain a hospitality certificate or associate degree can transfer into a Bachelor of Science degree at a university offering a similar program to be eligible for higher roles. Universities may offer standalone hospitality degrees or a business degree with a hospitality concentration.

Recommended Improvement Strategies for C&H

Based on the landscape analysis, the EdSystems team proposes the following strategies to both prepare residents for living wage roles in the culinary and hospitality sector and meet labor market demands:

  • Although sometimes grouped within Human Services at the state agency level, Culinary & Hospitality should be included as a branch of Finance and Business Services. Training providers should embed content from general business courses and competencies, specifically in marketing, management, accounting, logistics, and entrepreneurship.
  • Ensure entry-level positions aren’t “stopping out” at these roles. Build the capacity of partner nonprofits to provide alumni supports to help individuals transition from Gateway Occupations to High Priority Occupations. Pilot alumni supports through philanthropy, but ultimately integrate into WIOA structures.
  • In hospitality, transferring to a bachelor’s degree program requires a strong focus on business coursework. Individuals need ample support to navigate the postsecondary landscape.

C&H Priority Occupation and Promising Credential Areas

MIDDLE-SKILL CREDENTIAL AREA OCCUPATIONS TYPICAL ENTRY EDUCATION CHICAGOLAND WAGE $/HR CHICAGOLAND PROJECTED GROWTH (10 YR.) ANNUAL CHICAGOLAND JOB OPENINGS TERM
Culinary
Cooks, Restaurant
High School + On-the-Job Training
$14.77
0.0%
8,931
Chef and Head Cooks
High School + On-the-Job Training
$21.51
4.3%
318

First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers
High School + On-the-Job Training
$17.01
4.0%
2,053

Hospitality
Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks
High School + On-the-Job Training
$13.06
-9.1%
673
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners
Bachelor's Degree
$23.27
0.0%
301
Lodging Managers
High School + On-the-Job Training
$28.71
-2.1%
103

C&H Pathway Progressions