WASHINGTON, D.C.–The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and its foundation arm, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), hosted an Empowering Youth Project ceremony at Covenant House on April 19 to celebrate the first graduating class of 22 local youth who have received training in the hospitality industry as a result of a recent $75,000 grant commitment to Covenant House and Goodwill of Greater Washington. Each youth has earned the AHLA Certified Guest Service Professional designation as part of the training program, the highest acknowledgment of guest service for employees in the hospitality industry.
District of Columbia Deputy Mayor Courtney R. Snowden joined AHLA President and CEO Katherine Lugar, AHLEF Interim President Rosanna Maietta, Grads of Life Director Erika Cospy, Hotel Association of Washington D.C. (HAWDC) President and CEO Solomon Keene, and other representatives from the hotel industry.
In Washington D.C., more than 70,800 young adults are looking for employment. Annually, the Washington hotel industry has more than 4,100 job openings. Grant funds are helping to connect these youth to employers in the hospitality industry and provide training to help them succeed.
The event is part of AHLA’s Empowering Youth Project, an initiative of the industry’s Dreams Happen Here campaign, a national awareness effort to showcase career advancement opportunities, community commitment, and economic importance of hotel and lodging businesses to every city and state across America.
“The hotel industry supports more than eight million jobs across the United States and this grant in Washington, D.C. is another step in our continued commitment to creating opportunity and economic mobility by investing in our workforce,” Lugar said. “By partnering with Grads of Life, we are taking a meaningful step to close that jobs gap and provide our nation’s youth with the skills to launch long, prosperous careers in the hotel industry.”
“Ensuring that at-risk youth in the District have opportunities to achieve success in future careers is critical and I am very grateful for the partnership between AHLA, Grads of Life, and key community-based organizations in our city that benefit our youth population,” Deputy Mayor Snowden said.
“At Grads of Life, we work each day to match employers in need of talent with innovative solutions that also provide opportunity youth with the skills and access necessary for meaningful career pathways,” Cospy said. “AHLA’s grant commitments will help advance our mission to close the opportunity divide and aid countless young people looking to gain stable employment in the hotel industry.”