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MIARNG Hosts First Culinary Recruiting Event for Local ProStart Culinary Students

Culinary professionals and local high school students prepare meals for 4,000 eighth-grade students, highlighting culinary careers in the Michigan Army National Guard

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Army National Guard (MIARNG) has announced a new partnership with the Michigan Hospitality Foundation (MHF) to provide Michigan high school students with additional experience and career pathways in the hospitality industry.

The partnership kicked off with a cooking event for local high school culinary students participating in ProStart, a two-year, industry-backed culinary arts and restaurant management program for high school students. The National Guard hosted the cooking event using National Guard recipes at MiCareerQuest Southwest, feeding thousands of eighth-grade students October 24-25 at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center. 

ProStart students had the opportunity to work with current MIARNG members preparing hundreds of meals in line with military standards while on board one of five state-of-the-art Mobile Kitchen Trailers (MKTs). The MKTs, assigned to the 1500 Quartermaster Company co-located in Grayling and Battle Creek, are each capable of supporting up to 300 personnel in the field. Preparing apple crisp, fajitas and more while on board the traveling kitchens gave students insight into the experience of cooking for thousands of members of the Michigan National Guard and allowed them to learn more about culinary positions with the MIARNG. 

“This partnership will drive student learning and engagement in the hospitality industry,” said Amanda Smith, executive director of the Michigan Hospitality Foundation. “And this event specifically will help the next generation of culinary talent gain new skills and learn more about viable career paths and postsecondary training opportunities for military and veterans.” 

“The MIARNG is excited to open doors for Michigan students by partnering with the MHF to support its effort in fostering the hospitality industry while growing our team,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “We look forward to a long partnership together and hope this event inspires students to consider a future with the MIARNG.” 
The MIARNG offers a unique and rewarding career path for culinary professionals. Those who choose to serve in this capacity receive specialized culinary training, including food preparation, nutrition and food safety, setting them up for success in both military and civilian careers. Service in the MIARNG as a culinary professional comes with competitive pay, comprehensive benefits and job security. Soldiers enjoy healthcare, housing allowances, educational opportunities and retirement benefits, making it a financially rewarding career choice. 

“The MIARNG culinary professionals are the unsung heroes behind the scenes, ensuring that our soldiers are not only well-fed but also nourished for peak performance,” said Lt. Col. Jason Corner, commander of the MIARNG Recruiting and Retention Battalion. “We invite you to discover the remarkable opportunities that await talented chefs and culinary experts who choose to serve their country.”

With more than 40 employers showcased onsite at MiCareerQuest Southwest, the food produced by participating students alongside their military chefs went to good use. The event was also open to the public from 3-6 p.m. on October 24 for opportunities to see military vehicles in person.

Hospitality is an industry in Michigan that supports more than 450,000 jobs and nearly $44.6 billion in annual sales. It is also an industry with significant room for growth and ranks among the top ten fastest-growing sectors in the state with 20,000 current job openings. The MIARNG offers rewarding careers within the industry and welcomes high school juniors and seniors to sign up to explore a future serving within Michigan. 

“Our industry is growing and evolving rapidly. This partnership, combined with our hands-on programming, will help build stronger resources for Michigan schools while also helping them engage with hospitality leaders across the state,” said Smith. 

For more information on pursuing a culinary career path with the MIARNG, visit and click on “Apply Now”.

Images of the culinary event are available for download at B-roll footage is available at

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