Rachael Ray's Yum-o! Organization and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) Partner to Award High School Scholarships

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(Chicago, Ill.) —Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! organization and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today a new scholarship initiative aimed at providing funds to high school students enrolled in NRAEF’s ProStart® restaurant and foodservice management program. 
The new scholarships are awarded to students who have excelled in studies of culinary arts and foodservice management and earned the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement in the 2006-2007 academic year.  The ProStart program blends classroom learning with on-the-job experience to teach students the fundamental management and culinary skills they need to succeed in the industry. 
“Through this new partnership with Rachael’s Yum-o! organization, we hope to aid students pursuing an education in the restaurant and foodservice industry and continue to raise awareness about the wealth of opportunities it offers,” said Mary M. Adolf, president and COO of the NRAEF. 


The 2007 scholarship recipients come from varied backgrounds, but share a common passion for the restaurant industry.  The winning students are:

•    Steven Bookbinder - Weston, FL, The Culinary Institute of America
•    Shayla Ellis - Batavia, IL, Elgin Community College
•    Kenneth Holmes - Tumwater, WA, South Puget Sound Community College
•    Zachary Little - Aurora, IL, Joliet Junior College
•    Shaquetta Maloney - Walterboro, SC, Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College


“My first job was as a waitress and I find the skills I learned then guiding me to continued success today, in all aspects of my life,” said Rachael.  “Now, I wear many hats, but my main function remains the same -- cooking quality meals and serving my customer.  I am so proud to be part of providing the means for kids to have the same opportunities as I did, to excel in this industry.” 


To earn the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement, students must pass the NRAEF’s Year 1 and Year 2 exams and complete a 400-hour mentored work experience.  The National Certificate of Achievement signifies that the student is well-qualified to begin a career in the industry or continue his/her education at a college or university. NRAEF’s two-year high school restaurant and foodservice management program currently serves more than 63,000 students in 47 states, territories and districts.

The NRAEF’s Scholarships Program awards $1.4 million annually to high school and undergraduate students and educators committed to furthering their education or professional development in restaurant and foodservice management.  The restaurant and foodservice industry is one of the largest employers in the U.S. with 12.8 million employees, and an additional 2 million positions will be added over the next decade.  And the NRAEF’s programs have proven successful at recruiting and training the workforce needed to meet the industry’s growth -- 3 out of 4 students who have received an NRAEF scholarship are still studying and/or working in the industry.
For more information on ProStart, please visit www.WeAreProStart.org.

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About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fulfilling the educational mission of the National Restaurant Association. As the nation's largest private sector employer, the restaurant and foodservice industry is the cornerstone of the American economy, of career-and-employment opportunities, and of local communities. Focusing on three key strategies of risk management, recruitment, and retention, the NRAEF is the premier provider of educational resources, materials, and programs, which address attracting, developing and retaining the industry’s workforce. Sales from all NRAEF products and services benefit the industry by directly supporting the NRAEF's educational initiatives. For more information on the NRAEF, visit www.nraef.org.

About the Yum-o! Organization
Yum-o! is Rachael Ray’s nonprofit organization that empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. By providing the tools to create easy, affordable and delicious meals, Yum-o! is changing the way America eats.      Yum-o!’s three work areas include educating kids and their families about cooking, feeding hungry American kids and funding cooking education and scholarships. For more information about the Yum-o! organization, please visit www.yum-o.org.
 
About Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, including Just in Time and Rachael Ray 2-4-6-8: Cooking for Couples or Crowds, and host of the wildly popular “30 Minute Meals” and “Tasty Travels” shows on the Food Network. She is also the Editor-In-Chief of her own food and lifestyle magazine, Every Day With Rachael Ray. Additionally, Ray has a line of knives, cookware and bedding. In September 2006, “Rachael Ray,” a nationally syndicated daytime show produced by CBS Television Distribution and Harpo Productions, launched as the highest rated syndicated show launch since 2002.