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IRA Educational Foundation

Committed to Developing Tomorrow’s Foodservice Leaders Today!

The IRA Educational Foundation is dedicated to working with high school students to build the hospitality workforce through career exploration, workforce development and connections to post-secondary education.

Working with teachers, students and industry partners through the ProStart® program, the Foundation creates career pathways to post-secondary education and the workforce.

ProStart Invitational®

On Saturday, February 6th, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) will welcome fifteen Culinary teams and nine Management teams comprised of high school ProStart students from across the state to compete in the 15th Annual Illinois ProStart® Invitational, a full day of culinary and restaurant management competitions. The event, held at McCormick Place, is hosted by the IRAEF, Title Sponsor SYSCO-Chicago and Host Sponsor SAVOR...Chicago.

Students compete for the opportunity to represent Illinois at the National ProStart® Invitational (in Dallas, TX) where they will compete against teams from 49 states (plus Guam & European military bases). The 1st-3rd Place teams win scholarships and prizes. For more information, click here.

Be a Host on Job Shadow Day

Partner locations are being sought to host high school ProStart® students on March 16th for Job Shadow Day. To participate as a host or for more information, visit our Job Shadow Day page or contact Kathy Summers at 312.380.4147.

Get Involved!

Support the Educational Foundation through sponsorship, mentoring, donations and more! The IRA Educational Foundation is a 501 c3 non-profit organization.

Scholarship Application

The IRA Educational Foundation has awarded almost $2.5 million to deserving students pursing Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management in college. For more information, please click here.


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33 W. Monroe, Ste 250
Chicago, IL 60603
Toll Free: 800-572-1086
Ph: 312-787-4000
Fax: 312-787-4792


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