WASHINGTON, May 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today would have marked the kick-off of the 2020 National ProStart Invitational with more than 400 ProStart students from every state coming to Washington, D.C. to compete. The COVID-19 crisis forced the 2020 National ProStart Invitational (NPSI) to be canceled, but the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) is still recognizing and celebrating the program's talented culinary arts and restaurant management ProStart students.
Thanks to the generous support of The Coca-Cola Company, Buffalo Wild Wings and the Burger King McLamore Foundation, the NRAEF is offering a $1,500 scholarship to the 2020 graduating ProStart seniors on each state's championship teams. Students eligible for scholarships will be able to claim scholarship funds starting today, Friday, May 8th.
In addition, $150 American Express gift cards will be provided to each state's first place culinary arts and restaurant management team members.
"We were devastated to make the incredibly difficult decision to cancel one of our biggest events of the year – an event that means the world to our ProStart students, their educators, their parents and their communities," said Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF. "We know students practice for months to make it to the national competition. We hope this creative way to still give out scholarships and prizes will make our students and educators feel special—and showcase our commitment as they continue working towards their futures."
To recognize and show support for all the ProStart students and their educators, the NRAEF will host a special virtual celebration, NPSI Live, on June 4th, featuring guest appearances by celebrity chefs and some of the Foundation's biggest supporters. The event will be held live on the ProStart Facebook page at 6 p.m. EST.
"While I will miss watching the competitions and the energy in the room when we present awards, the ProStart community is so special to Coca-Cola. I am excited that we've found a way to continue to support, celebrate and be together virtually," said Kristin Bitter, Vice President, Industry Affairs, Coca-Cola North America.
"Ecolab is thrilled to continue our support of the NRAEF and to participate in a virtual celebration for the ProStart students. We would like to extend our congratulations and recognize each student's accomplishments and resilience under extraordinary circumstances."
Special thank you to the 2020 sponsors who have joined in supporting the virtual celebration, including: The Coca-Cola Company, Ecolab, Golden Corral, HMS Host, Burger King McLamore Foundation, Buffalo Wild Wings, Auntie Anne's, American Express, Savor, Bloomin' Brands and more.
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 ChooseRestaurants.org.
SOURCE National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation