Labor Dept., Restaurant Assn. develop apprenticeship program


Delaware’s first registered apprenticeship program for culinary professionals in the restaurant industry has been announced. 

The program officially begins on May 29th with a kick-off party and food prepared by the cook apprentices.

One out of 10 Delawareans (nearly 50,000) are currently employed in the 2,000 restaurants and foodservice establishments throughout the state.

The Delaware Restaurant Association and the Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Employment and Training, Office of Apprenticeship and Training have developed a pilot program in Sussex County to train cooks in the restaurant industry.

The Delaware Cook Apprenticeship Program (DECAP) features on-the-job training and classroom instruction, with apprentices achieving certifications and pay increases with the completion of measurable skills assessments in each section.


The Delaware Department of Labor noted that The Registered Apprenticeship program is no longer just for construction and plumbing etc. but is expanding outside traditional areas.

“I’m very excited to announce this new apprenticeship opportunity for Delawareans,” said Delaware Secretary of Labor Cerron Cade. “With the strong and steady growth of the food services industry, this is a great example of government and industry working together to ensure that worker and employer needs are met. Apprenticeship is an excellent workforce training tool that is being used more and more by local, regional and global employers.”

“Apprenticeship programs are truly beneficial for all parties involved – a win-win for the community, local businesses and those seeking professional career development,” said Carrie Leishman, President & CEO, Delaware Restaurant Association. “Apprenticeship programs have a high success rate in job placement, with 91% of apprentices remaining employed after completing their programs. SoDel Concepts jumped out early and was eager to partner on this pilot program.”

 The Cook Apprenticeship Program has been designed to model and expand on the training associated with the Delaware Restaurant Association’s highly successful ProStart culinary and management curriculum – currently the leading Pathway in Delaware’s ‘Pathways to Prosperity’ program, reaching over 3,000 students in 18 local high schools.  The new Cook Apprenticeship curriculum will expand on the Foundations of Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts, the National Restaurant Association textbook used by ProStart high school students.

 The Division of Employment and Training provides services enabling employers and job seekers to make informed employment and training choices leading to employment.

The Delaware Restaurant Association is the state trade association dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for Delaware’s foodservice industry.  Delaware’s 2,000 restaurants employ over 49,000 people with an economic impact of over $2 billion in annual sales.