Two Florida High Schools Win $10,000 from Rachael Ray ProStart Grow Grant to Nurture Their Culinary and Restaurant Management Education Programs

TALLAHASSEE –   The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) has announced that two Florida schools – Umatilla High School in Umatilla and St. Lucie West (SLW) Centennial High School in Port St. Lucie – are two of only 38 high schools from across the country selected to each receive a $5,000 grant to support their ProStart culinary and restaurant management programs through the Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant program.

“Florida is proud to have built the largest ProStart program in the nation,” said Carol Dover, President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). “With more than 30,000 students, we continue to invest them as they develop their talent and future in Florida’s vibrant restaurant and foodservice sector. These students are the future of our hospitality industry, and we applaud the Rachael Ray Foundation for contributing to their growth and success through this funding.”

Earlier this year, the Rachael Ray Foundation contributed $225,000 to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in support of ProStart Grow Grants. Schools with existing ProStart programs, or those looking to become part of the ProStart program, were invited to apply, with winning schools demonstrating how the ProStart program positively impacts, or could impact, their students and the community.

“We greatly appreciate the support of the Rachael Ray Grow Grant to provide much-needed funds for two of our Florida ProStart schools,” said Laura Rumer, Director of the FRLA Educational Foundation. “The grants will help the instructors to improve their facilities, which allows the students to be more comfortable on the equipment they will see in an industry kitchen as they prepare for future careers.”

To-date, the Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant Program has provided $590,000 to schools demonstrating a strong need to engage and educate high school students interested in exploring restaurant and foodservice careers. Learn more about all of the 2022 Rachael Ray ProStart Grow Grant winners here.

“ProStart programs, and the educators who support them, provide high school students across the country with skills they need to be successful throughout life,” said Rachael Ray, award-winning television personality and philanthropist. “We [The Rachael Ray Foundation] are proud to support the dreams, passion and hard work that these Grow Grant recipients display in their classrooms and schools as they cultivate the next generation of restaurant and foodservice professionals.”

A program of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, ProStart is a two-year technical education program found at more than 1,750 high schools and career and technical educational centers nationwide, teaching culinary techniques and restaurant management skills that build a lifetime foundation and support future careers in the restaurant industry. With 145,000 students enrolled across all states, the District of Columbia and Guam, the program teaches students through a combination of classroom and industry instruction.  Find out more about ProStart at

# # #

About FRLA: The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Founded in 1946 as the Florida Restaurant Association, FRLA merged with the Florida Hotel and Motel Association in 2006. FRLA’s more than 10,000 members include independent hoteliers and restaurateurs, household name franchises, theme parks and suppliers. The association’s mission is to protect, educate and promote Florida’s nearly $112 billion hospitality industry which represents 1.5 million employees. Dedicated to safeguarding the needs of the membership, FRLA provides legislative advocacy to ensure the voices of its members are heard and their interests are protected. The association offers regulatory compliance and food safety training through Safe Staff® and FRLA’s subsidiary, RCS Training. The FRLA Educational Foundation provides industry-developed, career-building high school programs throughout the state.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF): As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) mission of service to the public 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 Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited apprenticeship programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF, visit

About The Rachael Ray Foundation: The Rachael Ray Foundation™ (RRF) is a private foundation that is fully funded by the proceeds from the sale of Rachael Ray™ Nutrish®. RRF was launched by Rachael in 2016 to better support the causes she cares for most such as helping animals in need. Additionally, RRF works with organizations that support the mission of Yum-o!, Rachael’s 501c3, in order to bolster and amplify their efforts through additional funding. Yum-o! empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. It also teaches families to cook, feeds hungry kids, and funds cooking education, among other initiatives.