National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Celebrates America’s Veterans, Reiterates Commitment to Building Career Pathways for Military Foodservice Professionals

Foundation hosts 18 military members for 5-day training program, part of comprehensive work to help military build restaurant industry careers

Washington, DC – November 10, 2023 This Veterans Day, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) is celebrating the role of the military’s foodservice professionals, who ensure their fellow service members are fed and ready to deliver on their charge to protect and defend the nation at installations across the globe. Part of its seven-decade-long commitment to helping current and former service members build careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry, the NRAEF hosted 18 active-duty service members this week at the Culinary Institute of America Texas for five days of instruction through its Advanced Culinary Training Program (ACTP)

Photo of two chefs working in the kitchen during a ACTP 2023 class ACTP is held three times each year, in conjunction with the Culinary Institute of America. Designed to bolster the culinary skills of enlisted personnel between the E1 and E6 ranks, the training program helps them hone their individual and team competency in key subjects, including knife skills, soups, stocks, and multi-course menu execution. Service members are also exposed to the Culinary Institute of America’s ProChef level one requirements through lectures, demonstrations, and assessments throughout the week.

Foodservice professionals fill a critical role in America’s military – working tirelessly at locations around the world to make sure their fellow service members have the sustenance they need. It is our goal to support them with whatever required to do their job while in service and make a successful transition to the civililian foodservice workforce when they are ready,” said Rob Gifford, president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “We are grateful for the sacrifices of our country’s veterans and their family members, and salute all they do to serve our country.”

NRAEF military programs focus on training current service members in culinary arts and restaurant management to support force readiness; developing career pathways in the restaurant industry for service members and their families to successfully transition to civilian life; and recognizing best-in-branch foodservice operations each year during the Annual Military Foodservice Awards. Current initiatives include:

Training Programs: The NRAEF’s Military training programs are designed to help members of the military enter the restaurant and foodservice workforce and reduce veteran unemployment. They include ACTP training with The Culinary Institute of America, and the annual Advanced Military Management Training Program, held during the National Restaurant Show. 

SkillBridge:  In partnership with the Department of Defense, the SkillBridge program connects service members with industry training, apprenticeships, or internships during their last 180 days of service.

Apprenticeship: The NRAEF’s Restaurant Management Apprenticeship Program provides on-the-job training through the Veteran Apprenticeship and Labor Opportunity Reform (VALOR) Act. Veterans who participate in the NRAEF’s Restaurant Management Apprenticeship Program can utilize their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits while enrolled.

Scholarships and Grants: In partnership with Hormel Foods, the NRAEF awards a set of annual scholarships to individuals with military backgrounds who are pursuing careers in culinary arts or foodservice management programs. Learn more about this year’s Hormel Heroes scholars here. 

Learn more about the NRAEF’s military programs through this video or visit

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, Click here for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s 2022 Annual Impact Report.


Hannah Oliver

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