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Me and my shadow

On Groundhog Day, more than 20,000 high school students will shadow hospitality workers as part of a national career-training event.

The goal is for students to learn firsthand from chefs, servers, hotel managers, and accountants how they do their jobs and possibly become inspired to pursue careers in hospitality.

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Opportunities in this industry abound for young people, says Michael Mount, spokesman for the National Restaurant Association, one of the groups organizing the effort.

The restaurant industry will need 11.3 million employees in 2001, he says, a number that is expected to soar over the next few years and provide ample career growth.

On Feb. 2, teens will get a lesson or two in managing a large restaurant, making Fettuccine Alfredo at Buca di Beppo restaurants across the US, or checking in guests at hotels in bustling New York City.

The effort to mentor young people involves 2,000 restaurants and hotels, the Hospitality Business Alliance, and groups working with America's Promise. Many of the students regularly participate in school-to-career programs.

"You don't [necessarily] need a college degree," Mr. Mount says. "You can just show that you have a good work ethic."

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society