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CEO DATELINE – Restaurant foundation to help troubled youth find industry jobs

July 11, 2019
By Walt Williams

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The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation has been awarded a $4.5 million government grant to help young people who have run afoul of the law train for jobs in the restaurant industry.

The U.S. Department of Labor grant will be used to launch a new foundation program named HOPES, or Hospitality Opportunities for People (re)Entering Society. NRAEF will partner with departments of corrections, community-based organizations and state restaurant associations to train young people in the correctional system for restaurant jobs.

   “We are honored to be part of a national effort to create positive employment opportunities for young adults involved with the justice system,” NRAEF President Rob Gifford said in a statement. “The program fits perfectly with our mission to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant workforce and is an excellent way for anyone seeking to get back on track to becoming a productive and responsible member of society.”

The unemployment rate for incarnated people is nearly five times higher than that for the general population, according to the foundation. At the same time, there are nearly 1 million unfilled jobs in the restaurant industry.

Funds from the grant will be used by NRAEF to develop programs in Boston, Chicago and the Richmond and Hampton Roads areas in Virginia. The foundation is already active in the cities with other education programs.