Cranston, RI - The RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF) in conjunction with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) has announced that due to safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and because of current guidelines outlined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this year’s National ProStart® Invitational (NPSI) that was scheduled to take place May 8-10 in Washington, D.C. has been cancelled. The NPSI is a national high school culinary and food service management competition where top teams from each state compete to create a three-course meal or a unique restaurant concept.

To reward students who were scheduled to compete in the NPSI as a result of their first-place finishes in the 9 Annual Rhode Island ProStart High School Culinary & Foodservice Management Competition, which took place on February 27, the NRAEF will provide $150 gift-cards, donated by American Express, for each of the winning team members. Thanks to the generous support of The Coca-Cola Company, Buffalo Wild Wings Foundation and the Burger King McLamore Foundation, the organization is also awarding individual $1,500 scholarships for each of the 2020 graduating ProStart seniors on the two winning teams.   

A culinary team from Exeter Job Corps Academy won the Culinary Arts portion of the statewide competition and a food service management team from East Providence Career & Technical Center won the Food Service Management portion of the competition. Both teams were slated to represent Rhode Island at the NPSI.

“Our hearts break for the students who worked also hard this year for the opportunity to represent Rhode Island in the National ProStart Invitational,” said Dale J. Venturini, President/CEO of the RI Hospitality Association and the RI Hospitality Education Foundation. “As disappointed as we are to hear that the competition has been cancelled, the safety of our students is paramount. We applaud our colleagues at the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation for coming up with a thoughtful way to reward our students for their dedication and performance.”

To recognize and show support for all the ProStart students and their educators, the NRAEF will host a special virtual celebration, NPSI Live, on June 4, featuring guest appearances by celebrity chefs and some of the Foundation’s biggest supporters. The event will be held live on the ProStart Facebook page at 6 p.m. EST.

About the RI Hospitality Education Foundation 

The RI Hospitality Education Foundation’s mission is to develop, support and promote career growth opportunities within the hospitality industry to benefit students, organizations and the economy. This mission is achieved through the foundation’s work with youth, unemployed adults and incumbent employees. The RIHEF’s focus is on career awareness providing work-readiness training and offering occupational skills training. For more information, visit

About the RI Hospitality Association

With more than 800 foodservice and hospitality members in Rhode Island, the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) has been the voice of the hospitality industry in the state since 1982.  For more information on the RIHA, please call (401) 223-1120, or write to: RI Hospitality Association, 94 Sabra Street, Cranston, RI, 02910, or visit 

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