[p]Norfolk, VA - Last year, Stephanie Evans attended her school's career fair in hopes of finding a job. This year, she is returning to the event, but this time, it's to look for prospective employees.[/p]
[p]Evans graduated from ECPI University's Culinary Institute of Virginia (CIV) in 2010 with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts and is now a general manager for the Kelly's Tavern restaurant chain, which has 11 sites in Hampton Roads.[/p]
"It's exciting to come back to this event a year later and to be on the other side of the table, offering career opportunities," says Evans, 25, a Newport News resident. "I'm looking to fill several positions."
According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurants added jobs at a +1.7% rate in the 12 months ending August 2011, compared to +1.0% for the overall economy. The demand for workers is evident as up to 40 companies and several hundred students are expected to participate in CIV's Career Fair on Wednesday, October 12, a significant increase from the 15 companies and several dozen students who attended the school's first such event five years ago. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Aramark Food Service, Walt Disney World, Wintergreen Resort and local restaurants such as Kelly's are among the employers attending.
"Our recruitment strategy is to draw from local, regional and national culinary schools, but often with a focus on people who know the local cuisine and are in close proximity," says Rhys Lewis, Executive Chef of the Williamsburg Lodge at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. "Currently we have five CIV student externs, six graduates on staff and we will be looking to add to that number. The school prepares its graduates well and it continues to invest in instruction and programs."