Free Training Courses Available for Restaurant Industry Workforce


Free Training Courses Available for Restaurant Industry Workforce

DRA provides rapid workforce training as part of ‘Forward Delaware’ initiative

NEWARK, DE: Ten courses designed to help upskill and retrain Delaware’s restaurant workforce are now available free of charge, funded by federal CARES Act dollars.The Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Training Initiative (later named ‘Forward Delaware’) was created to assist Delaware workers and their families who have lost jobs and income due to the COVID-19 crisis. Free training is being provided to those employed or job-seeking in key industries with high demand for skilled workers. The Delaware Restaurant Association (DRA) is providing industry-recognized training courses from ServSafe®, the University of Delaware, and it’s own industry-specific training courses, to meet the unique training needs and statewide food safety requirements for Delaware’s restaurant workers. The DRA is estimated to provide over 5,300 training courses by summer 2021.

“We know that our ability to rebound and get Delaware working again will partly rely on our ability to provide training for individuals that need it and meet those jobs in high demand,” Governor John Carney said in a press conference announcing the program. 

The Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Training Initiative to assist Delaware workers and their families who have lost jobs and income due to the COVID-19 crisis. The ‘Forward Delaware’ program was implemented with $10 million of federal CARES Act funding to jumpstart retraining programs. The Delaware Department of Labor then chose industry partners to establish training and certification programs for workers in the foodservice, healthcare, construction, logistics/transportation and information technology fields.

Rebuilding Delaware’s workforce after months of statewide job loss and underemployment is a top priority for the state and individual industries impacted by the pandemic. The state lost 74,700 jobs at the height of the pandemic, with the restaurant industry hit the hardest — losing ⅔ of it’s workforce, and still facing employment levels at a 20% deficit as of January 2021 (compared to 2020 employment numbers).  

“Delaware’s restaurant industry has been devastated by COVID-19, suffering a staggering $1 billion loss in sales revenue since March 2020. And the reality is that with business shutdowns and continued capacity restrictions, many Delawareans are suffering from underemployment from decreased hours, and total unemployment from furloughs and layoffs. The ‘Forward Delaware’ Rapid Workforce Training grant funding will allow us, in partnership with the University of Delaware and other educational institutions, to offer valuable training that can help get people back to work, with industry-recognized credentials and higher earning potential. We’re excited to begin offering these training opportunities and help move our industry forward in 2021.”  

— Carrie Leishman, President & CEO, Delaware Restaurant Association 

Training courses provided by the DRA include:

  • ServSafe® Food Protection Manager, Allergens, and Food Handler courses
  • ServSafe® Sexual Harassment Prevention (both manager & employee level courses)
  • ServSafe® Understanding Unconscious Bias (both manager & employee level courses)
  • DRA Online Alcoholic Beverage Server Training 
  • DRA ‘Drugs & Alcohol in the Workplace’ awareness and prevention course for managers
  • University of Delaware ‘HR Competencies for Restaurant Managers’

The DRA offered training programs to its statewide membership beginning in December, 2020. As of February 1st, 2021 anyone residing in Delaware (or currently working in a Delaware restaurant) is eligible to register to receive the industry free training. Note that some eligibility verification and COVID-related documents must be completed by registrants as part of federal and state grant funding requirements. To date, 324 individuals in Delaware have received 636 training courses. The DRA is providing a total of over 5,300 courses – those interested in receiving the training are able to register for multiple courses if desired.  

Those interested in registering for restaurant industry training can learn more at

For more information in applying to Forward Delaware’s training programs or to be connected to employees using the programs, visit