Restaurant Employee Advancement Fund

The National Restaurant Educational Foundation (NRAEF) has established the Restaurant Employee Advancement Fund (REAF) – a fund designed to help employers advance their employee’s careers through additional training and professional development and address the barriers of their employees in doing so. Monies from the fund will be released to qualifying restaurant operators to cover the costs of training and resources applied for employee advancement.

There are more than 1 million restaurants in the U.S., employing more than 15 million workers. With restaurants as the largest business sector impacted by the spread of COVID-19, NRAEF believes that our mission – to create opportunities for people from all backgrounds – is more important than ever.

When the COVID pandemic hit, thanks to the generous support of many donors, we were able to help tens of thousands of people through the most difficult months of their lives – providing essential cash to purchase groceries, pay rent, and take care of their families. Restaurants are now re-opened, and people are slowly returning to work, but we are not done.


  • To access the funding operators must be participating in NRAEF’s US DOL registered apprenticeship program.
  • Employees benefiting from the funds must be registered apprentices or mentors of the apprentices
  • Restaurant operators can request up to $1,000 per employee
  • Special emphasis will be place on minorities and women apprentices
  • Applications and awards of funds will be assessed by a committee of the NRAEF
  • Applicants’ requests may be limited in funding, and all disbursements are subject to the availability of funds
  • Applicants will keep and provide records of the use of funds received


  • Training (Mentor and Apprentice)
  • Credentials recognized by the industry to advance employees
  • Resources to receive training (e. tablets, lap tops, home Wi-Fi stipends) used for training employees
  • Transportation to and from the training facility and potentially other costs of training
  • Childcare, Uniforms, Equipment


  • Wages
  • Insurance/benefits
  • Payment of a mentor or instructor
  • Other normal business expenses

If you are interested in learning more about REAF, please contact us!

PLEASE NOTE: The REAF application will be closing on January 31, 2024.

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