New Five-Year Contract Supports Ongoing Effort To Train Workforce For Sustainable Careers In The Restaurant, Foodservice And Lodging Industry

WASHINGTON, DC – October 1, 2020 – The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) received a five-year, $9.2 million contract from the U.S. Department of Labor to continue the growth and expansion of its Hospitality-Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) – an earn-while-you-learn training program conducted in partnership with the American Hotel and Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation) and the Multicultural Food and Hospitality Association (MFHA). 

HSRA provides a proven pathway to sustainable careers for workers seeking high-skilled and high-paying jobs, and for employers seeking to train, promote and retain their workforce. 

The multi-year contract will support the promotion and expansion of registered apprenticeship in the restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry to meet employer needs across the sector; increase opportunities for underrepresented populations, including women, Veterans, persons currently or formerly incarcerated, youth and minorities; and leverage apprenticeship stakeholder resources to support the long-term sustainability of apprenticeship across both restaurants and lodging. 

“We are thrilled to receive this funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to continue our work in the apprenticeship space,” said Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF. “Apprenticeship provides both new and current restaurant and foodservice employees the opportunity to advance their careers and increase their income and ensures restaurant companies maintain a competitive advantage in today’s challenging economy.”

“Despite the challenges facing the hotel industry due to COVID-19, we are seeing a 94 percent retention rate among our apprentices with over 40 corporate employers, representing all segments of the industry, and we know that the skills they learn through the program will help them be one step ahead once travel resumes,” said Rosanna Maietta, president of the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation. “The apprenticeship model has been proven to successfully address the talent needs of the hotel sector, and we are excited to join NRAEF and continue our efforts in the years ahead.”

Over 2,500 apprentices are currently enrolled in HSRA. With apprentices working and learning in 48 states and 870 apprenticeship sites across the country, the program is operating with an 80 percent retention rate for restaurant managers. Apprentices are required to have at least one pay raise during the term of apprenticeship. 

In August, the Foundation was also awarded a $5 million grant Youth Apprenticeship Readiness grant by the USDOL to connect apprenticeship to NRAEF’s youth-focused programs, ProStart and Restaurant Ready. ProStart is a career and technical education program reaching 150,000 high school students pursuing careers in culinary arts and restaurant management. Restaurant Ready partners with community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide young adults, ages 16 through 24 who are out of school and out of work, with job skills training.

To learn more about the Foundation’s apprenticeship program and what you can do to support restaurant workers, visit


About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF)
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation's 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's and tomorrow's restaurant and foodservice workforce.

NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community-based organizations to provide opportunity youth and justice-involved individuals 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.

To learn more about the NRAEF and its work, visit

About The AHLA Foundation: 
The AHLA Foundation, the charitable giving arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, is dedicated to helping people build careers, improve their lives and strengthen the lodging industry. From lifting individuals out of poverty and connecting them with a life-long career in the industry to providing certifications to promote current hotel employees into leadership positions, the Foundation's programs are changing the industry by changing lives. We are committed to elevating, educating, and empowering individuals and the public on the industry’s story of opportunity and advancement. Since its founding in 1953, the Foundation has distributed over $27 million in support of the industry and is committed to ensuring a strong and viable workforce for the entire lodging industry. The Foundation is funded solely by contributions from generous individuals and companies who want to give back to the hotel industry and ensure a successful future. Learn more at