You are here

Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Brings Nationally Recognized ProStart® Program Back To Nation’s Capital with Programs at Three Local High Schools

October 12, 2018


WASHINGTON (October 11, 2018) — Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) and its education foundation, Educated Eats, are pleased to announce the return of a nationally acclaimed program aimed at cultivating the next generation of local culinary and hospitality management leaders in DC.

ProStart®, a National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) program that prepares high school students for careers in the foodservice industry, has returned to Washington, DC, after more than a decade. RAMW, in collaboration with Educated Eats, has been working toward the relaunch of this program for the past two years, having recognized and acted upon the need to develop the talents of highly skilled workers in both the front and back of the house. The industry has grown exponentially during the past 10 years. In fact, it is the second largest private employer in the District after the federal government.

“The timing was right and the need in our industry is real for RAMW to bring the ProStart® program back to DC,” said RAMW President and CEO Kathy Hollinger. “This program will
create myriad opportunities for enrolled students by giving them access to accomplished mentors and hands-on work experience in DC restaurants. Their classrooms are training grounds in which they will learn from industry leaders to prepare for long-lasting, fulfilling careers. At the same time, it will benefit DC restaurateurs by providing them with a talented workforce that is crucial to sustaining one of the city’s largest industries.”

The official relaunch of the program in DC will be celebrated at a fundraiser hosted by Educated Eats at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center on Tuesday, October 16 at 5 pm. A press announcement will be held, followed by a brief program, entertainment, gourmet sips and bites, silent auction, and a Wine and Spirits Pull, in which entrants will have the opportunity to win high-end spirits and wine.

The DC ProStart® programs begin this fall at three DC Public Schools: Ballou High School (Ward 8), Theodore Roosevelt High School, and Roosevelt STAY (Ward 4). The nearly 300 students in these culinary arts programs will gain hands-on experience both in and out of the classroom to prepare them for careers in DC’s rapidly growing foodservice industry. In addition to learning through the program’s rigorous curriculum, the students will be integrated into the industry before they graduate from high school through mentorship and internship programs, giving them a head start on a path toward future employment. The program also provides students with opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school; students who enrolled in the program are also eligible to receive scholarships through the NRAEF.

ProStart® is a two-year, nationwide program that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders. ProStart serves nearly 140,000 students in more than 1,800 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. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart®’s industry-driven curriculum provides real-life experience opportunities and builds practical skills and a foundation that will last a lifetime. ProStart® students are also provided with the chance to compete at the National ProStart Invitational, the country’s premier secondary school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts. The 2018-2019 National ProStart® Invitational will be held in Washington, DC from May 8-10, 2019.

“Bringing ProStart® to Washington, DC is a huge win for the Foundation,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the NRAEF. “We are officially in all 50 states, Guam, Department of Defense Education Activity Schools in Europe and the Pacific, and now, the District of Columbia. Thank you to the team who helped make this possible – we look forward to serving the future leaders of the restaurant industry right here in the Foundation’s very own backyard.”




About ProStart®  //  ProStart® is a nationwide, two-year high school program that unites the classroom and industry to develop the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders. In Washington, DC, three high schools and career centers use the ProStart curriculum with more nearly 300 students participating. For more information about ProStart, visit

About Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW)  //  The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) is the regional trade association
representing restaurants and the foodservice industry in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Established in 1920, RAMW is an advocate, resource and community for its members. The Association works to promote and sustain the growth and development of the industry while providing its members legislative and regulatory representation, marketing and small business support, programming and events. RAMW strives to serve its members with professionalism and integrity, and provide them the training, education and support they need to grow a successful business.

About Educated Eats  //  Founded in 2004, Educated Eats (501(c)3) advocates for the value of employment through the restaurant and foodservice industry and is committed to creating the next generation of culinary professionals. Through Educated Eats, RAMW helps public school districts and local community colleges design and implement culinary education programs, provides scholarships to promising culinary students and seeks new partnerships outside of the public school system, in an effort to serve more challenged populations.

About National Restaurant Educational Foundation  //  As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation 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” 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. For more information on the NRAEF, visit

Related Issues & Advocacy Categories: