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The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced that the Coca-Cola Company has committed $1.5 million to support the Foundation’s efforts to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice industry workforce. Coca-Cola’s donation also marks the largest contribution by a corporation in the history of the Foundation.
Over the past decade, Coca-Cola has contributed more than $11.5 million to the NRAEF and its portfolio of programs, including ProStart, the nation’s leading culinary and restaurant management training initiative reaching more than 137,000 high school students. During that time, the company has awarded scholarships to over 600 ProStart students to continue their education, receive additional training and pursue careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
“Coca-Cola has been a proud supporter of the NRAEF since its inception—it is the incubator for our industry,” says Roy Jackson, senior vice president of business development and industry affairs, Coca-Cola Company. “We are excited to increase our level of support and partner with the Foundation on preparing and developing the next generation of talent for rewarding jobs and careers in this dynamic industry.”
“Coca-Cola has been a long-standing champion of the Foundation and a global leader in creating opportunities for people from all backgrounds,” says Rob Gifford, executive vice president, NRAEF. “This significant contribution and Coca-Cola’s active involvement in the work of the Foundation are a testament to their commitment to the future of the industry and our mission to feed dreams and build futures.”
With new restaurants, food concepts, dining experiences and innovative services launching every day, the demand for a well-trained and skilled workforce is greater than ever. This year, the restaurant and foodservice industry is expected to reach $799 billion (4 percent of U.S. GDP) and the workforce will grow from 14.7 million to 16.3 million over the next 10 years. For the past 30 years, the NRAEF has been on the front-lines of workforce development, offering restaurant and foodservice education, food safety, training and certification programs to millions of Americans.