National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Awarded $600,000 Grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) was awarded $600,000 from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to implement and expand Restaurant Ready and hospitality apprenticeships in New Orleans and throughout the state of Louisiana.

WASHINGTON, DC – February 20, 2020 – The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) was awarded $600,000 from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to implement and expand Restaurant Ready and hospitality apprenticeships in New Orleans and throughout the state of Louisiana.

Restaurant Ready is a national program dedicated to helping young adults acquire the basic
job and life skills necessary to pursue employment in the restaurant industry and jumpstart a pathway
to independence.
The funds will allow the NRAEF and its partners to provide young adults—ages 16-24 who are disconnected from employment and formal education—with basic jobs skills training at two sites in New Orleans throughout the state.
The restaurant and foodservice industry is a major economic driver in Louisiana, employing 1 in 10 people statewide. By 2029, Louisiana is projected to grow restaurant and foodservice jobs by 7 percent, resulting in 228,400 total restaurant and foodservice jobs across the state.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. This initiative will help young people reach their full potential by way of direct connections to good jobs and a better future through opportunities in our industry,” said Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF. “The Hilton Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged individuals, and we are proud to support them on their path to success.”
To address challenges at the local level, the NRAEF will collaborate with a network of community-based organizations (CBOs) and the Louisiana Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Participating CBOs include Café Reconcile, Liberty’s Kitchen and more – each will offer job-readiness training, entry-level employment and apprenticeship opportunities aligned with in-demand occupations. 
“We are excited to partner with the NRAEF and Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to facilitate local connections with the NRAEF,” said Stan Harris, president and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association and the NRAEF’s 2020 Board Chair. “With help from the Hilton Foundation, we will build a direct hiring pipeline from the community-based organizations conducting the trainings to the employers who can hire these young adults as soon as they’re ready.”
The funds will build on the NRAEF’s 2019 grant, where the Foundation began engaging with local partners and employers to implement Restaurant Ready.
Nearly 1 in 5 young people in Louisiana meet the definition of opportunity youth: young adults ages 16 to 24 are not currently engaged with school or work. Opportunity youth are statistically more likely to come from low-income families, racial and/or ethnic minority backgrounds and more likely to experience homelessness, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and long-term unemployment.
Visit to get involved with the NRAEF and its work to build pathways to meaningful jobs and careers in restaurants and foodservice.
About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public 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 and justice-involved incarcerated individuals 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
About the Louisiana Restaurant Association/Louisiana Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
The Louisiana Restaurant Association is one of the largest business organizations in the state, representing restaurant operations and related businesses. The restaurant industry in Louisiana is the state’s largest private employer, providing jobs to more than 215,000 residents. Restaurants in Louisiana are expected to generate over $10.3 billion in sales in 2020. Get up-to-date news about the LRA and the restaurant industry from
The LRA Education Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the restaurant industry, which administers ProStart—the two-year culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum in 57 high schools statewide; awards post-secondary financial support to its annual LRAEF Scholars and promotes the industry’s career opportunities.   
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Jasmine Jones

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