August 21, 2020

$5 million DOL grant will help Foundation expand apprenticeship program

Thousands of young adults seeking careers in the restaurant industry are expected to benefit from a $5 million grant that the U.S. Department of Labor awarded to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The grant will help the Foundation expand its Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) program — also funded by the DOL and the first of its kind for the industry — and assist future generations looking to make their mark as managers and more at restaurants and foodservice establishments around the country.

In addition to expanding the HSRA program, which offers current frontline restaurant employees continuing hands-on and classroom education so they can transition into managerial positions, the Foundation will use the money to link HSRA to:

  • ProStart, the nationwide high-school instruction program that trains students in both the culinary arts and restaurant management. To date, 150,000 students participate in the program each year.
  • Restaurant Ready, a program that trains young adults aged 16 to 24, who are not in school or who are unemployed, with skills needed to begin restaurant industry careers.

The Foundation plans to link the ProStart and Restaurant Ready programs to the apprenticeship initiative as part of a four-state pilot in Colorado, Delaware, Louisiana and Maryland. The Foundation plans to ramp up with participants and stakeholders onboarded in the fall.

Currently, 2,000 participants are enrolled in the HSRA program, which boasts a 90% retention rate. It’s offered at more than 300 apprenticeship sites in 44 states.

“The funding will help us grow our apprenticeship program and give young people the training and education they need to launch a successful career and build a better future for themselves,” said Rob Gifford, NRAEF president. “Through apprenticeship programs, employees have a clear pathway to advancement and a higher income.”

Learn more about the apprenticeship program at