As so many restaurant operators struggle to recruit and retain employees, it may help to consider tapping into alternative sources for potential staff. For a growing number of operators, that has involved hiring people who have been through the justice system and are reliant on their work as a bridge to an independent life. Recently, 50 representatives from around the country joined the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the success of the Foundation's HOPES (Hospitality Opportunities for People (Re)Entering Society) program, which has enrolled more than 700 people who have been through the justice system and were subsequently connected with career opportunities in the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industry. The program, which launched in 2019, is a collaborative effort across seven states to identify, train, employ, and ultimately advance people who have been through the justice system and are seeking a career path in the restaurant industry. It facilitates work-readiness and restaurant industry-specific training through its network of state Departments of Corrections, state restaurant associations, and 13 community-based organizations. Following their training, participants are connected with opportunities through its network of local and national employer partners, including MOD Pizza, Inspire Brands, and Dave's Killer Bread Foundation. Chooserestaurants.org provides more information about the program, its results and how to get involved.