The Community Culinary School of Charlotte and its director, Chef Ron, are on a mission to train some of the city's least employable with restaurant and cooking skills. The program, which runs 12-14 weeks and has helped its 600 alumni find work, once focused on people with criminal pasts or drug and alcohol addiction. Now the nonprofit is seeing a new kind of student: people with job skills looking to support their family in a down economy.

Below are Fast Facts provided by the Fox News Brainroom on job opportunities in the culinary profession.

Chefs and Cooks

• The number of positions for chefs and head cooks expected to increase by 16.4% between 2008 and 2018.

• Chef and head cook jobs should jump from 122,000 to 142,000 between 2008 and 2018, reflecting an average annual hike of 1.5 percent.

• 2008: Chefs and head cooks held 108,000 jobs

• 2008: Median annual wage-and-salary earnings of chefs and head cooks were $38,770

Culinary Schools

• Culinary school enrollments across the country fell during the recession, but the numbers are starting to rise again.

• Culinary schools have seen an increase of 21 percent in student population in recent months.

• Interest in a four-year culinary education has been increasing during the past decade.

• Applications at the Culinary Institute of America were up up 30 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.

• About 42 percent of those who apply to the Culinary Institute of America are allowed to enroll.

• From 1996 to 2006, the number of career cooking schools increased by 66 percent


• Every additional $1 million in restaurant sales generates 34 jobs for the economy.

• Total restaurant-industry sales projection for 2010: $580 billion

• Restaurant-industry sales on a typical day in 2010: $1.6 billion

• Employees: 12.7 million - one of the largest private-sector employers (roughly nine percent of the U.S. workforce)

• On a typical day in America in 2010, more than 130 million people will be foodservice patrons

• Restaurant-industry sales are forecast to advance 2.5 percent in 2010 and equal four percent of the U.S. gross domestic product

• The overall economic impact of the restaurant industry is expected to exceed $1.5 trillion in 2010

• Every dollar spent by consumers in restaurants generates an additional $2.05 spent in the nation's economy

• Restaurant industry share of the food dollar in 1955: 25 percent

• Restaurant industry share of the food dollar in 2010: 49 percent