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More than $1M in NRAEF scholarships available to students pursuing hospitality careers

The 2024 application period is open to hospitality students at all stages of their lives, whether career changers or high-school students pursuing an industry-related post-secondary degree. Financial awards range from $2,500 to $10K and can be used toward tuition and fees, books, room and board, and other school-related expenses. All individuals are encouraged to apply through March 15 at



The restaurant industry is known as the Nation’s training ground, and it is.

Nearly half of all Americans have worked in  the restaurant industry at some time in their lives. As the state’s leading solutions for development and training we’re excited about introducing young people to amazing careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

What is ProStart?

ProStart is a nationwide, two-year hospitality program that develops culinary techniques and management skills in high school students. The industry-driven curriculum links classroom learning with hands-on experience to develop the best and brightest talent in tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders. With support of community-minded industry members, Washington’s ProStart program reaches more than 1,500 high school students per year.

The ProStart Experience

ProStart gives students a platform to discover new interests and talents, and it opens the doors for fulfilling careers in the hospitality industry. Industry operators serve as mentors and provide support for ProStart students by helping them make a real connection to their goals and their future.  Some of the components students learn:

  • Communication
  • Customer service skills
  • Business math and forecasting
  • Workplace and food safety procedures
  • Nutrition
  • Receiving and storage practices

Students completing 400 hours of industry work experience and passing both ProStart exams can attain a nationally recognized Certificate of Achievement, applicable toward scholarship opportunities and tuition reductions.


Make A Difference

From teacher to rolemodel, mentors and ProStart supporters play many different roles in the lives of our students. Support from local hospitality leaders result in educated, motivated, and professional hospitality industry employees, and it provides an example of how our industry continually gives back.

Get Involved!

There are many ways to support the ProStart program on local and statewide levels:

  • Mentor – Connect with local ProStart students and educators to help advise classes, speak on industry-related topics, prepare a team for competition, host a field trip to your business, and use your knowledge and experience to help our students succeed.
  • Sponsor – The WHAEF has many fundraising events that support the ProStart program year-round. Sponsor one of these events and make your support and partnership with the future of our industry known!
  • Hire – Give ProStart students priority as ready-to-work candidates and help them gain the hands-on experience they need to succeed. See if there’s a ProStart school near you!
  • Donate – Assist ProStart classes by supporting their fundraising efforts or by donating products, equipment, or curriculum to the classroom or the WHAEF directly.