A Virginia restauranteur has made a $1.1 donation to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF).
The donation, by Hu Odom means that the foundation’s ProStart program is now available at Norfolk’s Maury High School and Norfolk Technical Center in Norfolk, Virginia.
ProStart is a two-year program, which teaches culinary arts and management skills to local students interested in pursuing restaurant industry careers.
Odom, president and founder of BOTH Inc., a 21-unit Golden Corral franchisee, called ProStart the best initiation and early training for the restaurant industry.
He said: “Many low income and otherwise disadvantaged high-school students don’t have access to ProStart or any other similar program.
“Perhaps private funding can help open the door to those students, to give them an opportunity for easier access to the restaurant industry, restaurant management and the culinary arts. That’s what we’re trying to achieve here in Norfolk.”
Odom added that he hoped the students would take the skills they learn in ProStart and leverage them in the restaurant industry.
Rob Gifford, the NRAEF’s president, said the organization was excited and grateful for the investment in the next generation of industry leaders.
“Hu’s donation will ensure young people in Norfolk and Hampton Roads can obtain the skills and training they need to pursue the limitless job and career opportunities our industry has to offer.”