After recently announcing a new $3 million capital campaign and renewed mission to serve as the hospitality industry’s unofficial employment brand, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Foundation introduced a new partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program (HOH) in a joint effort to establish workforce development initiatives for military spouses.
Both organizations will work together to identify hospitality career opportunities and implement a new fellowship program, which will allow select military spouses to participate in a six-week experiential learning program with leading hotel brands, providing insight into the dynamic career opportunities that exist in hospitality sales, marketing, and revenue management.
“The hospitality industry is ever-changing and needs a stronger pipeline of high-caliber talent in the sales, marketing, and revenue management sectors so that we can keep pace,” said Fran Brasseux, president of the HSMAI Foundation. “Military spouses face an unemployment rate that’s nearly four times the national average, with one in four of the over a million military spouses actively seeking employment. We are grateful to Hiring Our Heroes for their comradery and willingness to use their knowledge base to help us connect military spouses with sustainable employment opportunities.”
“This program will put all of us a few steps closer to our goal of filling the industry’s talent void, creating excitement around the various career paths in hospitality industry management, and helping to lower the current military spouse unemployment rate,” added Agnelo Fernandes, HSMAI Foundation chair, and Terranea Resort chief strategy officer and executive vice president.
In addition to the fellowship program, the HSMAI Foundation and HOH will host joint events and webinar opportunities throughout the year to engage with military spouses—who often have experience in sales; managing events and finances; and leading change, which are integral for a successful career in hospitality sales, marketing, and revenue management positions.
Military spouses can be fairly transient, sometimes at the mercy of their spouse’s most current assignment and deployment plans. The hospitality industry is a natural fit for this group, as it is comprised of large global brands like Accor and Preferred Hotels & Resorts with a presence in locations around the world, and ripe with opportunities to transfer within the same brand family.
“Hiring our Heroes looks forward to working alongside HSMAI Foundation to combat the longstanding employment challenges faced by our nation’s military spouses,” said Eric Eversole, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes. “This new partnership will forge a clear pathway for military spouses to pursue careers in hospitality sales, marketing, and revenue optimization, and ultimately unlock economic opportunity and prosperity for our military families.”