The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) has announced that it has been awarded a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to launch a programme aimed at getting young people involved in the justice system into work.
The grant, which is the largest in the history of the NRAEF, will launch the Foundation’s HOPES program, which stands for Hospitality Opportunities for People Re-entering Society.
The program will see the NRAEF partner with Departments of Corrections, community organizations and state restaurant associations as they bid to prepare and train young adults who are re-entering society.
These partner organizations will utilize an NRAEF training framework with individuals at participating correctional facilities as well as after release and during parole.
Once a HOPES participant completes training, the individual will be placed in a local restaurant and/or foodservice position, while hospitality apprenticeships will also be available to participants.
Funds from the grant will be used to develop programs in Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; and the Richmond and Hampton Roads, Virginia area, all cities where the NRAEF is already active with its apprenticeship, Restaurant Ready and ProStart programs.
Rob Gifford, the NRAEF’s president, said of the grant: “We are honored to be part of a national effort to create positive employment opportunities for young adults involved with the justice system.
“The program fits perfectly with our mission to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant workforce and is an excellent way for anyone seeking to get back on track to becoming a productive and responsible member of society.”
In late 2017, the USDOL awarded the NRAEF a contract to develop the restaurant industry’s first registered restaurant management apprenticeship program, which currently has 1,000 employees enrolled nationwide.