The restaurant industry celebrates the successful journey to jobs and careers for those involved in justice


State restaurant associations, community organizations and employers join the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in washington celebrate the HOPES program

WASHINGTON, October 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Fifty representatives from across the country have joined the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) in washington d.c.last week to celebrate the success of the Foundation HOPE programwhich has recruited more than 700 people involved in justice, connecting them with career opportunities and a path to independence in the restaurant, catering and hospitality industry.

The Hospitality Opportunities for People (Re)Entering Society (HOPES) program represents a collaborative effort across seven states to identify, train, employ and ultimately advance those involved in justice who seek independence and a career in the industry. of restoration. Launched in 2019 with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, HOPES facilitates job readiness and restaurant industry-specific training through its network of state departments of corrections, restaurant associations and State and 13 community organizations. Upon completion, the program connects participants with opportunities through its network of local and national employer partners, including MOD Pizza, Inspire Brands and Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation.

“I think it’s important to give people opportunities regardless of what they’ve been through or what mistakes they’ve made,” said Deirdra flowerswho is the HOPES supervisor at Chicago Lawrence rooma partner site of the HOPES community. “Employers should really take advantage of this opportunity because these people are good workers. They’re dedicated. But also, it’s important to be the person who says, ‘It’s okay. I want to help you.'”

HOPES partner sites such as Lawrence room work with local corrections to identify potential candidates for the program. Upon registration, these individuals receive restaurant industry-specific training in six off-the-shelf skill areas using the NRAEF. Ready for the restaurant frame. HOPES community partners then provide participants with complementary services, job placement and aftercare support, while local employment partners further engage participants with hands-on restaurant training and opportunities to develop their job skills.

“HOPES brings together the restaurant industry to give those involved in justice the opportunity to carve out a future and a career”, said Rob Giffordpresident of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “I am extremely grateful to have the chance to bring together HOPES stakeholders, participants and alumni in Washington to celebrate the program’s victories and its work to create pathways of opportunity for all who want to be part of our industry.”

During the Washington event, program participants and alumni, as well as case managers, restaurant industry partners and local corrections officials enjoyed three days of workshops, networking and events. Highlights included a reintegration simulation aimed at replicating some of the challenges those involved in justice face when reintegrating into society, as well as a special cooking demonstration where HOPES participants showcased their cooking skills to the audience. using a list of mysterious ingredients. Attendees were also treated to a special session exploring motivation and resilience with the HOPES alum. Ernest Greenwho currently works at MOD Pizza, and Chicago Chef Lakisha Hunterwhich trains HOPES participants in its food trailer, That Jerk Spot LLC.

“HOPE is needed,” said Hunter, who was a young gang member before joining her high school ProStart Culinary Arts Program. In addition to her current food caravan, she has owned a restaurant, taught culinary arts at Chicago public schools and recently launched a non-profit organization, Rise Above the Ordinary. “Just to know that these people get a second chance and don’t need to be detained for the rest of their lives for a mistake they made. They’ve served their time, been punished for it, and can now go forward.”

Green, who was connected to the HOPES program at Chicago Lawrence room through his trial officer, said: “When you’re there in person and experiencing it, I think it’s almost surreal to see so many lives being changed one by one. one, and I’m just grateful for what they [Lawrence Hall and HOPES] have done to help me.” Since joining MOD Pizza, Green has been promoted several times and now serves as a training manager.

HOPES is 100% funded by two grants, amounting to $4,499,472 and $4 million, awarded by the US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. Learn more about HOPES at Visit to learn more about the NRAEF and its work to provide access to meaningful jobs and careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF): As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the public service mission of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) is dedicated to improving training and education, career development, and educational efforts. industry community engagement. The NRAEF and its programs aim to attract, empower and advance the restaurant and catering workforce of today and tomorrow. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high school vocational and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community organizations to provide ‘opportunity youth’ with skills training and employment opportunities; Military – helping military men and women transition their skills into restaurant and catering careers; Scholarships – financial aid for students pursuing studies in catering, catering and hospitality; and the Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited learning programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF,

Click here for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s 2021 Annual Impact Report.

SOURCE National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

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Cecil N. Messick