Rob Gifford Named President of National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

WASHINGTON — The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) today announced the promotion of Rob Gifford to President, effective July 1.  As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career opportunity, and community engagement efforts.

“Rob’s passion and dedication for cultivating the next generation of restaurant leaders is unparalleled,” said Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association.  “This promotion reflects Rob’s commitment to excellence and his contributions to the ongoing success of the industry.”      

During Gifford’s tenure at the Foundation, its ProStartTM high school culinary and restaurant management program has grown by more than 50 percent, now reaching 150,000 students nationwide annually.  The Foundation also has introduced a growing array of new programs designed to attract, empower, and advance the industry’s workforce.  These include:  Restaurant Ready, a work readiness training program offered to opportunity youth and ex-offenders in cities throughout the nation; and the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship program, which provides existing industry employees with apprenticeships to become certified restaurant or lodging managers.  The Foundation also has developed training partnerships with all branches of our nation’s Armed Forces and annually offers hundreds of scholarships and grants to students, employees and educators.

National Restaurant Association President & CEO Dawn Sweeney will remain CEO of the Foundation. 

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation: 
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts.

The NRAEF and its programs work to attract, empower and advance today and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStartTM – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community-based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry.

About the National Restaurant Association:
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than one million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15 million employees. The Association represents the $863 billion restaurant and foodservice industry at the federal, state, and local levels, and advocates on its behalf. We host the industry’s largest trade show, the National Restaurant Association Show, inChicago each May, and administer the industry’s leading food safety training and certification program, ServSafe®. In addition, through the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, we offer ProStart™, a unique career-building high school program available at more than 1,900 schools across the country.