The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced the promotion of Rob Gifford to President, effective July 1. As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career opportunity, and community engagement efforts.

“Rob’s passion and dedication for cultivating the next generation of restaurant leaders is unparalleled,” says Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “This promotion reflects Rob’s commitment to excellence and his contributions to the ongoing success of the industry.”

During Gifford’s tenure at the Foundation, its high school culinary and restaurant management program has grown by more than 50 percent, now reaching 150,000 students nationwide annually. The Foundation also has introduced a growing array of new programs designed to attract, empower, and advance the industry’s workforce.

These include: Restaurant Ready, a work readiness training program offered to opportunity youth and ex-offenders in cities throughout the nation; and the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship program, which provides existing industry employees with apprenticeships to become certified restaurant or lodging managers.

The Foundation also has developed training partnerships with all branches of our nation’s Armed Forces and annually offers hundreds of scholarships and grants to students, employees and educators. National Restaurant Association President & CEO Dawn Sweeney will remain CEO of the Foundation.

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