Path Forward is committed to promoting the service sector as an industry of opportunity, and demonstrating how restaurants and retail stores are adapting to a changing economy.
New innovations in technology are enhancing the customer experience and changing the future of work. This is especially true in the service industry, which plays a significant role in preparing and strengthening the American workforce through educational offerings, formal training programs, and opportunities to advance.
As restaurants and retail businesses integrate new innovations into their operations, they will improve convenience and efficiency for customers while continuing to empower millions of Americans with first jobs, tools and skills training needed to start, learn and build lifelong careers whether in the service sector or other industries. 


The service sector provides more entry–level jobs than any other industry.
  • 30 million: Combined restaurant and retail industry employees.
  • 50% of Americans have worked in a restaurant. 
  • 59% of Americans have worked at a retail job.


Service jobs provide opportunities to people of all educational backgrounds. Workers are provided with training to develop new and transferable skills and experiences to build their resume.
  • Approximately four in 10 restaurant operators planned to devote more of their resources in 2015 to training, ranging from 31% of family-dining operators to 39% of casual-dining operators.
  • 78% of current retail employees are satisfied with their job and nearly eight in 10 describe themselves as happy working in retail.
  • 80% of hiring managers state that the skills and traits that are most important to them are the same skills and traits that more than eight in 10 current retail employees say they use regularly.


The service industry offers workers the opportunity to expand their career paths and open new doors both within the service sector and outside of it.
  • 90% of restaurant managers and 80% of restaurant owners started in an entry-level position.
  • 71% of hiring managers say retail provides employees with foundational skills and experience that are transferable to other industries and recommend that employees include retail experience on their resumes.  
  • 97% percent of managers say they have advanced to a higher-paying job within the restaurant industry.
  • The number of women-owned restaurant businesses increased 40% between 2007 and 2012 — well above the 12% increase in all restaurant businesses. In fact, 50% of all restaurant owners are women. The number of Hispanic-owned restaurant businesses jumped 51% between 2007 and 2012. Black- or African-American-owned restaurants increased 49%.
  • Among current retail employees surveyed, 6 out of 10 reported having been promoted and 85% reported having earned a raise. A majority of those hired in an entry-level position reported earning a promotion within a year of employment.
Senior Advisors

Robert Doar
Robert Doar, Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
Robert Doar is the former Commissioner of Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services under New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Broderick Johnson, Partner at Bryan Cave LLP
Broderick Johnson is a former Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary under President Barack Obama and former Chair of My Brother’s Keeper Task Force.