AHLA Foundation Receives $1 Million Grant to Assist Opportunity Youth

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WASHINGTON—The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation) has secured a $1 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to attract, prepare, and retain opportunity youth for careers in the hospitality industry.

This two-year grant allows the AHLA Foundation to expand its Empowering Youth development programming to Los Angeles and New Orleans, propelling young talent into hotel careers. The AHLA Foundation will collaborate with community-based organizations to engage individuals between the ages of 16-24 who are out of school, unemployed, and looking for a path forward in an industry that offers more than 200 career pathways.

“We are so grateful to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for entrusting our organization to support and advance the careers of young individuals who are looking for more than a job at a time when the hotel industry is laser-focused on hiring and grooming new talent,” said Rosanna Maietta, president and CEO of the AHLA Foundation. “As we recover from the pandemic and strive to create a more diverse workforce, we look forward to expanding our Empowering Youth Program with this grant and looking to grow it in these two critical markets and beyond.”

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From COVID-19 severely impacting hospitality to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives taking center stage, this program aims to fill a significant labor shortage by identifying, training, and educating the next generation of U.S. hospitality workers. The AHLA Foundation is devoting $5 million towards DE&I and crafting a more inclusive industry.

With job openings on the rise, this $1 million grant bolsters the Empowering Youth Program as it seeks to expand its efforts into additional markets in the coming year.

“We are thrilled to work hand-in-hand with the AHLA Foundation as we discover new talent, sharpen their skillsets and track their success throughout their careers,” said Elizabeth Cheung, senior program officer, opportunity youth at the Hilton Foundation. “The Empowering Youth Program is playing a significant role in building the next generation of the hospitality industry and we’re excited to play a role in that.”

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