(March 5) Rachel Ray is using her star power to help the next generation of chefs and foodservice professionals get their start in the industry.

The Food Network star’s Yum-o! organization and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation have joined together to provide scholarships to graduating high school seniors interested in pursuing a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

“Through this new partnership with Rachel’s Yum-o! organization, we hope to aid students pursuing an education in the restaurant and foodservice industry,” the director of the foundation’s scholarships program, Sue Vogel said in a press release.

Ray, who began her career as a waitress, enjoys providing culinary opportunities for aspiring foodservice professionals.

“I am so proud to be part of providing the means for kids to have the same opportunities as I did, to excel in this industry,” Ray said in a press release.

Five $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to students who have earned a ProStart National Certificate of Achievement. The ProStart program is intended to teach students management and culinary skills by combining classroom learning with on-the-job experience.

To earn the ProStart certificate, students must pass Year 1 and Year 2 exams and complete 400 hours mentored work experience. This certificate indicates that a student is qualified to continue his/her culinary education or begin a career in the foodservice industry.

Yum-o! is a nonprofit organization that encourages families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. Its three areas of focus are education for children and their families about cooking, feeding hungry American children, and funding cooking education and scholarships.

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fulfilling the educational mission of the National Restaurant Association.