The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced a volunteer partnership between its ProStart program and Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign.

ProStart students will be able to earn hours toward their industry-recognized ProStart National Certificate of Achievement through volunteer service with No Kid Hungry, which is working to end childhood hunger in America by connecting kids in need to nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaching low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals.

ProStart is a nationwide education program where high-school students learn from an industry-derived, competency-based curriculum that teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills, coupled with real-life restaurant sector experiences.

Through the partnership with No Kid Hungry, ProStart students will have a mechanism to document hours worked and receive credit for activities they need to complete their Certificate of Achievement.

To earn the certificate, students must pass two national exams, demonstrate foundational skills, and document 400 hours of industry-related work experience.

Students who receive the certificate are eligible for NRAEF scholarship opportunities and course credits at more than 60 of the nation's hospitality and culinary arts colleges and universities.

"Together with No Kid Hungry, ProStart is helping to create the next generation of thoughtful chefs ready to tackle social issues by leveraging their passion for the food and beverage industry and their inherent desire to feed people," says Rob Gifford, executive vice president of strategic operations and philanthropy for the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

"As ProStart continues to gain recognition for its industry-driven curriculum, students will continue to experience the true value of the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement and how it can direct them to rewarding and upwardly mobile careers in the restaurant and foodservice sector,” he says.

Students can volunteer with Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign initiatives such as Cooking Matters®, Cooking Matters at the Store, and Taste of the Nation, as well as through cooking demos, social engagement, and other student-driven projects.

"Chefs and restaurants have been some of our most critical supporters, volunteering countless hours and lending their voices in support of ending childhood hunger," says Gregory Silverman, director of national partnerships for Share Our Strength.

"No Kid Hungry believes that ProStart students will see a generation where no kid in America is hungry and our mission is to help create teen advocates who understand the crisis of childhood hunger and are dedicated to ending it."

The announcement will be made at the NRAEF's ProStart Coordinator Roundtable hosted by Brinker International at its headquarters in Dallas.

"ProStart has become the national model for how we prepare students to enter the restaurant and foodservice industry and Brinker is committed to continuing to play an active role in developing up-and-coming talent,” says Joe Taylor, vice president of corporate affairs for Brinker International.

Total restaurant and foodservice employment is projected to grow by 11 percent over the next 10 years and the NRAEF is committed to ensuring the development of a highly trained and professional talent pool through scholarships and educational programs such as ProStart.

With national and local support from industry members, educators, the NRAEF, and state restaurant associations, ProStart is taught to students across 49 states, Guam, and military bases.

Industry News, Philanthropy