The New Jersey Restaurant Educational Foundation (NJREF) exists to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NJREF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. The NJREF is the philanthropic foundation of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association. It impacts the prosperity of the restaurant industry by developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders. The Foundation’s educational initiatives provide culinary, management, food safety and employability skills training to build a pipeline of talent for the growing industry. The Foundation’s cornerstone program, ProStart, is a two-year, nationwide program that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders. ProStart serves more than 118,000 students at over 1,700 high schools in all 50 states, the Territory of Guam and at Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and Asia. ProStart trains students academically in the classroom and experientially on the job.
The NJREF awards scholarships each year to students pursuing careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry to help them realize their passions. Additionally, the National Restaurant Association Educational foundation (NRAEF) awards scholarships to students and educators to provide continued industry education. Since 1997, the NRAEF has awarded more than $18 million in scholarships.