WASHINGTON—The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) announced today the launch of the Hospitality is Working (HIW) campaign at the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting. As part of the HIW commitment, AHLA’s foundation, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), will award $500,000 to community-based organizations in six key markets where labor is tight.
Working in conjunction with community leaders, AHLEF will award funds this year to the communities of Orlando, Dallas, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. to support the recruitment and placement of Opportunity Youth—16- to 24-year-olds who are out of both school and the workforce—in the hospitality industry to fill the industry’s critical labor shortage. Over the next five years, AHLA expects to train and certify 8,000 Opportunity Youth in these high-demand markets and connect them to potential employers in the hospitality sector.
“When you’re in the business of helping people, that starts with investing in your own,” said Rosanna Maietta, president of AHLEF and executive vice president of communications at AHLA. “The Hospitality Is Working campaign underscores what the hotel industry is doing proactively to recruit and retain talent around supporting our workforce, protecting our employees and guests, and investing in our communities. Our commitment to investing in the next generation is stronger than ever. And along with AHLA’s members, we are focused on advancing our mission to bridge the employment gap and make our communities even more vibrant.”
Today’s announcement builds on AHLA’s decades-long investment in workforce development, including a commitment over the next five years to enroll 50,000 apprentices into new and existing AHLA apprenticeship programs, certify 125,000 job seekers and current employees with industry certifications, help 5,000 employees earn college degrees at no cost to them, and award more than $5 million in scholarships.
On safety and security, AHLA recently announced the 5-Star Promise, a pledge to provide hotel employees with safety devices and commit to enhanced policies, training, and resources aimed at enhancing safety. The industry also partners with national organizations to address issues such as harassment and human trafficking.
Hotels are a driving force in the U.S. economy and an integral part of the communities they serve. The industry supports 8 million jobs across the country with ample room for advancement. According to AHLA, 70 percent of mayors surveyed in 2017 said hotel jobs provide the most opportunity, good benefits, and wages within the tourism industry. A typical hotel supports more than 250 local jobs, and 61 percent of hotels are small businesses.
“We are excited to partner with AHLA to launch this program in Orlando,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Hotels and the larger hospitality industry are the foundation of our strong and increasingly diverse central Florida economy. Hotels are a vital part of our economy because they offer an unmatched pathway for opportunity for our residents, whether as an escalator to the middle class or as a vehicle to learn vital skills or to earn money for higher education or other pursuits. We appreciate the hotel industry’s commitment to creating quality jobs in our city, investing in our workforce, and helping our neighborhoods grow and thrive.”