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The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced it received a $100,000 contribution from Sodexo Inc. in support of the Foundation and its ProStart program. This donation marks nearly one million dollars in contributions from Sodexo Inc. to the NRAEF over the past decade. Through their generosity and their presence, Sodexo also supported the NRAEF’s 2013 National ProStart Coordinator Roundtable on November 7–9 in Washington, D.C. At the November 2013 Roundtable, ProStart coordinators from around the country networked, shared best practices, engaged in collaborative planning, heard about national ProStart program updates, and learned about Sodexo’s work in recruiting and retaining top industry talent.
“We are grateful for Sodexo’s loyal and generous support of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation,” says Rob Gifford, executive vice president of philanthropic initiatives for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “Sodexo’s commitment to our ProStart program helps students across the country gain the practical knowledge and experience needed to become future leaders of the restaurant industry. We commend their dedication to feeding the dreams and building the futures of 95,000 students each year.”
“ProStart is raising the bar for the restaurant industry, and combines a number of elements which Sodexo finds valuable,” says Lorna Donatone, chief operating officer and president of the Education Market for Sodexo Inc. “It promotes engagement with students and provides opportunities to help young men and women develop leadership and networking skills that will benefit them in the future—this type of broad community impact is right in Sodexo’s wheelhouse.”
“Sodexo is passionate about elevating the stature of the restaurant industry through the support and promotion of ProStart, the NRAEF’s key educational initiative,” Donatone adds. “There’s an incredible return on investment with ProStart as it serves to build a pipeline of talent for the industry and strengthens our brand positioning around improving quality of life for people, organizations and communities. At Sodexo, we are proud to be able to hire these students who have had exemplary training and exposure that otherwise they may not have.”
According to the National Restaurant Association, total restaurant and foodservice employment is projected to grow by 11 percent over the next 10 years. The NRAEF aims to ensuring it supports the development of a highly-trained and professional talent pool through scholarships and educational programs such as ProStart, which brings the industry and the classroom together to give 95,000 students nationwide a platform to discover new interests and talents, while opening doors to fulfilling careers.
With national and local support from industry members, educators, the NRAEF, and state restaurant associations, ProStart is taught in 1,900 schools.