WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today gifts totaling more than $500,000 from Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. and Sodexo, Inc. to support the NRAEF's mission to enhance the restaurant industry's service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities.
Buffalo Wild Wings® has donated an additional $385,000 to support the NRAEF's operations and establish the Buffalo Wild Wings Scholarship Fund, awarded to students pursuing degrees in culinary arts, food science or foodservice management. Each year, Buffalo Wild Wings and the NRAEF will select two students attending four-year colleges or universities and four students attending two-year colleges or universities to receive scholarships.
Additionally, Sodexo, Inc. has donated $125,000 in support of the NRAEF's nationwide career technical education program, ProStart. A portion of the funds will be used to create a dynamic network among current and past ProStart students, educators, leading foodservice operators, suppliers and members of the public.
"Through the generous contributions provided by Buffalo Wild Wings and Sodexo, the NRAEF can continue to grow the ProStart program across the U.S. and work to further our goal of attracting, developing and retaining a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry," said Katherine Schieffelin, senior vice president and chief development officer, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. "We applaud their commitment to ensuring a strong future for the industry and thank them for their continued support."
"Buffalo Wild Wings is dedicated to sharing our passion for developing talent, and we're pleased to support the NRAEF's efforts to equip students with the skills necessary to achieve rewarding and successful careers in the restaurant industry," said Sally Smith, chief executive officer and president, Buffalo Wild Wings. "As a restaurant concept with more than 1,060 locations worldwide, we understand the importance of providing long-term career opportunities and training and retaining a strong workforce. We're confident the Buffalo Wild Wings Scholarship Fund will help create future leaders in the industry."
"Sodexo has been a strong supporter of the NRAEF and its programs, such as ProStart, for years. As a company committed to playing an active role in local community development, we value the work ProStart educators do to prepare students for fulfilling careers," said Lorna Donatone, chief operating officer for Sodexo North America, president for Sodexo Education and treasurer for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. "There are thousands of current and former ProStart students scattered across the country and we can make the program — and their communities — so much stronger if we form these connections. We're proud to support such a worthwhile endeavor."
ProStart is a nationwide career technical education program where high-school students learn from an industry-derived, competency-based curriculum that teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills, coupled with real-life restaurant sector experiences. Upon completion of the program, ProStart students receive the industry-recognized ProStart National Certificate of Achievement. To earn the certificate, students must pass two national exams, demonstrate foundational skills and document 400 hours of industry-related work experience. Students who receive the certificate are eligible for NRAEF scholarship opportunities and course credits at more than 60 of the nation's leading hospitality and culinary arts colleges and universities.
Total restaurant and foodservice employment is projected to grow by 11 percent over the next 10 years and the NRAEF is committed to ensuring the development of a highly-trained and professional talent pool through scholarships and educational programs such as ProStart. With national and local support from industry members, educators, the NRAEF and state restaurant associations, ProStart is taught in to students across 49 states, Guam and on Department of Defense military bases. For more information on the ProStart program, visit NRAEF.org/ProStart or find us on Twitter or Facebook.
About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry's service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 980,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. For more information on the NRAEF, visit NRAEF.org.
About Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc.
Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., founded in 1982 and headquartered in Minneapolis, is a growing owner, operator and franchisor of Buffalo Wild Wings® restaurants featuring a variety of boldly-flavored, made-to-order menu items including its namesake Buffalo, New York-style chicken wings. The Buffalo Wild Wings menu specializes in 21 mouth-watering signature sauces and seasonings with flavor sensations ranging from Sweet BBQTM to Blazin'®. Guests enjoy a welcoming neighborhood atmosphere that includes an extensive multi-media system for watching their favorite sporting events. Buffalo Wild Wings is the recipient of hundreds of "Best Wings" and "Best Sports Bar" awards from across the country. There are currently more than 1,060 Buffalo Wild Wings locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
To stay up-to-date on all the latest events and offers for sports fans and wing lovers, like Buffalo Wild Wings on Facebook, follow @BWWings on Twitter and visit www.BuffaloWildWings.com.
About Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc., leading Quality of Life services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $22 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at SodexoInsights.com. Visit Sodexo on Facebook and follow on Twitter @SodexoUSA.
SOURCE National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation