WASHINGTON–The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) announced that its president and CEO, Katherine G. Lugar, has been selected to serve as a member of the Department of Labor’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion.
The U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced on Monday, Oct. 16, that Lugar and 19 other members will serve on the task force that will work to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeship programs are lacking, and they will report their plans to the President of the United States. The creation of the Task Force is a key step in implementing the President’s Executive Order to expand apprenticeships.
“I have had the opportunity to witness first-hand Katherine’s passion for developing the talent pipeline within the hotel industry and providing our associates with lifelong skills that will lead to careers,” said Mark G. Carrier, president of B. F. Saul Company Hospitality Group and Chairman of the AHLA Board of Directors. “President Trump’s Executive Order on Apprenticeship is perfectly in line with AHLA’s philosophy and focus on providing education opportunities for our associates and grooming the next generation of leaders for the industry.”
“Expanding apprenticeships will help Americans learn the skills they need to fill jobs that are open right now and in the future. I am pleased to see business leaders, unions, educational institutions, and industry groups come together to help the American worker,” said Secretary Acosta. “The members of the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion will provide varied perspectives that will help guide the Administration’s strategy on growing apprenticeship programs nationwide. I am grateful for their participation in this important effort.”
This announcement acknowledges Lugar’s efforts, along with the strong commitment of industry leaders, to address the need for a dynamic and successful workforce for future generations. AHLA and its foundation, AHLEF, created a national program that will provide current employees with new career advancement opportunities. The Department of Labor- approved apprenticeship program offers competency-based learning curriculum including skills to be successful in the industry. AHLA is on its way to fulfilling its obligations through this program—the association’s commitment to the DOL includes enrolling some 2,250 apprentices in the hospitality industry over the next five years, while immediately adding 225 apprentices by September. To date, AHLA has not just met but has exceeded that goal by more than 175 percent, securing more than 400 commitments from its membership.
More than 50 percent of hotel general managers got their start in entry-level positions, according to AHLA. In addition, many current global CEOs or those in the C-Suite ascended the ladder of opportunity within the hotel industry, which supports 8 million jobs and pays more than $74 billion in wages to its associates.
“On behalf of the lodging industry and our 25,000 members, it is an honor to serve on this task force that will bolster our shared goal of promoting jobs and opportunities and creating a dynamic workforce. This is yet another important step in highlighting the significant work the hotel industry does to promote its workforce, partner with communities to develop strong talented individuals who can build lifelong careers in hotels,” said Lugar.
The Task Force is instructed to submit to President Trump a report on strategies and proposals, including: federal initiatives to promote apprenticeships; administrative and legislative reforms that would facilitate the formation and success of apprenticeship programs; the most effective strategies for creating industry-recognized apprenticeships; and the most effective strategies for amplifying and encouraging private-sector initiatives to promote apprenticeships.
The Secretary appointed 20 individuals from several hundred applications who work for or represent the perspectives of American companies, trade, or industry groups, educational institutions, and labor unions. The Secretary of Labor will serve as the Chair of the Task Force and the Secretaries of Education and Commerce will serve as Vice-Chairs of the Task Force.