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National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Unites Communities and Employers to Put Unemployed Youth to Work in Restaurants

Hosts First Annual Restaurant Ready Forum

/EIN News/ -- Washington, DC, Dec. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This week, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) kicks off its first annual Restaurant Ready Forum to share best practices for training and employing “opportunity youth” at local restaurants.  The three-day Forum brings together community based organizations, State Restaurant Association (SRA) partners and key business leaders that see restaurant jobs as a pathway to independence for unemployed and/or out of school youth.

Café Momentum, one of NRAEF’s Restaurant Ready partners, provides at-risk youth with culinary, job and life-skill training to enable them to achieve their full potential. Kristine, pictured here, is Café Momentum’s first female graduate.


Restaurant Ready is a national NRAEF program dedicated to helping young adults acquire job and the life skills needed to pursue jobs and careers in the restaurant industry. The Forum will review the guidelines and steps required to launch Restaurant Ready and highlight how the program is life-changing. Currently, there are more than 4.6 million disconnected young people in the U.S. – about one in nine teens and young adults.

The Forum is part of Opportunity Week, a weeklong event focused on intersectional issues related to this population, spotlighting what’s happening, what’s working and what remains to be done in communities around the country to build pathways for opportunity youth.

On Thursday, December 6, the Opportunity Youth network will hold its annual Summit, where a cross-sector of leaders discuss key challenges, followed by a networking reception hosted by the NRAEF. The event continues on Friday with a full briefing on the Restaurant Ready program by NRAEF leadership, panel discussions and sharing of success stories from currently active programs.  

“There’s a strong need to help communities across the country engage these young people and help them develop the skills required to get a job that can translate into a career and life of independence,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the NRAEF. “Restaurants serve as an excellent work environment for learning what it takes to be successful. We are honored to be partnering with these organizations and industry leaders that are dedicated to opening doors of opportunity for today’s youth.”

“The program has given me great exposure to the culinary world and has given me exciting opportunities,” said Amy Poston, a participant from The Matthews House, a Restaurant Ready partner based in Fort Collins, Colorado. “It helped me build my confidence to get a job. After participating in this program I want to keep practicing my kitchen skills at home and at work so one day I can be where I want to be.”

The Foundation thanks its Restaurant Ready donors for their generous support: The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Darden Foundation, White Castle, Arby’s Foundation and the National Network.

Visit to learn how to get involved with the NRAEF and its work to build pathways to meaningful jobs and careers in the restaurants and foodservice industry.




About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include:  ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship Project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a  hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry. For more information on the NRAEF, visit


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Jasmine Jones
                    National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

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