Future Restaurant Leaders Fuel Their Career Dreams With $1M in National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Scholarships

2023 scholarships support post-secondary students charting a path toward restaurant and hospitality careers

Washington, DC – October 31, 2023 For 300 students at 139 colleges and universities, studying everything from computer science to supply chain management, the restaurant and hospitality industry provides a multitude of career opportunities. They were selected to receive scholarships to support their goals – part of $1 million awarded annually by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF).

The class of 2023 NRAEF scholars are finding exciting ways to meld their interests with their personal experience in the foodservice industry. Ninety-eight  percent of the recipients – who range from 17 to 66 years old – have already worked in a restaurant. They are pursuing a range of studies – including culinary arts, tourism and hospitality management, human resources , and computer science –  showcasing the myriad careers that exist in the restaurant and hospitality industry. 

Photo of Izuchukwu Mba

Talladega College student Izuchukwu Mba was awarded the David R. Parsley Supply Chain Scholarship

“I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a keen focus on supply chain tech,” says Izuchukwu Mba, a student at Talladega College who was awarded the David R. Parsley Supply Chain Scholarship. “My long-term goal is to pursue a master’s degree in supply chain technology and build software solutions that address critical challenges in the food industry’s supply chain network.”

An ambitious group of students, this year’s scholarship recipients also represent the increasing diversity of the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industry, with nearly 47 percent self-identifying as a member of a community of color and more than 6 in 10 self-identifying as female. Sixteen percent self-report a disability and 33 percent say they are the first generation in their families to pursue post-secondary education. Meet the 2023 class of NRAEF scholarship recipients here.

“I’m blown away by the talent, ambition, and drive of this year’s NRAEF scholars,” said Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF. “Our industry is in great hands in the years ahead. We remain deeply grateful for the partnership of so many donors across the industry, who generously support the NRAEF scholarship program and its goal to feed the dreams of tomorrow’s industry talent.”  

Our scholarships fuel future careers: 300 Scholars. 139 schools. 33% first-generation college students. 16.5% self-report a disability. Age range from 17 to 66 years. More than 60% self identify as female. More than 47% self identify as a member of a community of color.The NRAEF’s 2023 round of scholarships are funded by its generous partners, including: 

  • Burger King Foundation
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers
  • Gay Holden-Petrini, in memory of Glenn Petrini
  • George Hoffman
  • Hormel
  • Joe Fassler Memorial Fund
  • The J.M. Smucker Company
  • Julie Flik Memorial Fund
  • PepsiCo
  • Rachael Ray’s Yum-O! Organization
  • Ray Morgan & Shelby Steele
  • Rich Family Foundation
  • Women’s Foodservice Forum

Over the last 36 years, the NRAEF has awarded more than more than 5,500 scholarships valued at approximately $26 million. Awards range from $2,500 to $10,000 and can be used towards tuition and fees, books, room and board, as well as other school-related expenses. To Learn more at ChooseRestaurants.org/scholarships.

About The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) 

As the supporting philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF’s charitable mission includes 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/HOPES – Partnering with community based organizations to provide people 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 Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited apprenticeship programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF, visitChooseRestaurants.org. Click here for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s 2022 Annual Impact Report.


Hannah Oliver

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