The AHLA Foundation bolsters efforts to address the labor shortage through its Empowering Youth Program. 50 Opportunity Youth in Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Orlando are placed on the fast track to jobs in the hotel industry.
The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation) has announced that more than 50 people from traditionally marginalized communities have graduated from the Empowering Youth Program (EYP) and are now working in the hotel industry.
This year, the Foundation gave $175,000 to community-based groups in Los Angeles, Orlando, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., that help Opportunity Youth aged 16 to 24 better their lives by training them for future professions in hospitality.
Students from the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Pathlight HOME, Café Reconcile, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida completed the program. They acquired the Certified Kitchen Cook or Certified Guest Service Professional certifications. Following graduation, the program works with hotel employers to place recent alumni in positions in the hospitality industry.
“These graduates worked hard to earn their certification, and we’re thrilled to match them with employers who will help them succeed and find a lifelong career in the hotel industry,” said Rosanna Maietta, president and CEO of the AHLA Foundation.
“Our Empowering Youth program is incredibly rewarding, and we’re so grateful to our community partners who nurture these talented individuals through the program. We’re so proud of their work and excited to watch them rise through the ranks.”
“We are so proud of our 33 youth who graduated from the program since our last in-person graduation in January 2020,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center Executive Director Joe Hollendoner.
“These graduates are extra special because, in addition to completing the program during the pandemic, they also helped to ensure we kept the kitchen producing vital meals for our community.”
“Pathlight HOME’s philosophy is that we are there to give our participants key training and services to help them get back into society,” said Pathlight HOME President Babette Allen.
“We are incredibly proud of our graduates, and we are looking to employ them and give them those employability skills.”
“New Orleans is the perfect backdrop for the Empowering Youth Program. We are a hospitality city, and there are countless opportunities for our graduates to commence their careers,” said Café Reconcile Executive Director Gerald Duhon. “We observed our Empowering Youth Program graduates blossom into full-fledged professionals, and we know they have bright futures ahead of them.”
“We are so proud of our past and current graduates at Second Harvest,” said Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida CEO Derrick Chubbs.
“There is a great need for skilled workers in hospitality, and I am confident that our graduates will help provide the industry the boost it deserves.”
Zachary, Michelle, Queenxiaoli, and Stephen are among the recent graduates who received the Presidential Scholarship thanks to a generous contribution from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
These students are currently attending Los Angeles City College to pursue associate degrees. This funding is part of a $1 million donation from the Hilton Foundation to help AHLA Foundation programs attract, prepare, and retain Opportunity Youth for employment in the hospitality industry.
EYP, which was relaunched in 2021, recruits and trains young people for entry-level hotel jobs. The program focuses on Opportunity Youth, young adults who have dropped out of school and are unemployed but have the ambition and perseverance to succeed in the workplace. The effort nurtures and develops program participants with the training, resources, and support that will lead to permanent careers in hospitality with the help of local community-based organizations.
EYP gives Opportunity Youth the tools and training they need to succeed in the hospitality business by providing them with professional equipment and training. With the pandemic wiping out almost ten years of job growth since 2020, this program is crucial in replenishing the workforce with new talent.
Visit https://www.ahlafoundation.org/empoweringyouth for more information about the Empowering Youth initiative.
ABOUT THE L.A. LGBT CENTER
The Los Angeles LGBT Center has been caring for, championing, and celebrating LGBT people and families in Los Angeles and worldwide since 1969. The Center’s approximately 800 staff now serve more LGBT people than any other organization globally, with programs, services, and worldwide advocacy across four key categories: health, social services and housing; culture and education; leadership; and activism. They are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the battle to construct a better world, a future where LGBT people can thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society.
PATHLIGHT HOME INFORMATION
Pathlight HOME (Orlando), also known as Grand Avenue Economic Community Development Corporation, provides men and women in Central Florida with secure housing, social services, and economic opportunities. The charity, which has assisted over 7,000 people, uses the “housing first” strategy to provide inexpensive, supportive housing and culinary skills training, case management, behavioral health counseling, and career support to help formerly homeless men and women go forward in life. This organization won first place and was awarded $100,000.
ABOUT RECONCILE CAFÉ
Reconcile New Orleans helps young adults between the ages of 16 and 42 alter their lives by fostering personal growth, providing workforce development and training, and equipping them with the resources they need to succeed.
CENTRAL FLORIDA’S SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a private, nonprofit organization that collects, stores and distributes donated food to over 500 feeding partners in Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties in Central Florida. Second Harvest helps feed neighbors in need but directly transforms dozens of lives every year. Adults who complete their 16-week culinary training program are placed in positions that pay ‘better than minimum wage,’ putting them and their families on the road to self-sufficiency.
The AHLA Foundation’s mission
The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s philanthropic giving arm, the AHLA Foundation, is dedicated to helping people advance their professions, better their lives, and grow the lodging industry.
The Foundation’s programs are changing the industry by changing lives, from pulling people out of poverty and linking them with a life-long job in the sector to offering certificates to advance current hotel employees into leadership roles. In addition, they are dedicated to raising awareness, educating, and inspiring individuals and the general public about the industry’s story of opportunity and progress.
The Foundation is entirely supported by contributions from generous individuals and businesses who want to help the hotel sector thrive in the future.
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