March 28, 2019
Blog Post
Hospitality Groups Join Forces to Provide Local Youth With Pathways to Success

ORLANDO, FL (March 28, 2019) – Today, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) announced a grant commitment of $75,000 to help Orlando community-based organizations – Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and the Orlando After-School All-Stars – recruit individuals to join the growing and dynamic hotel industry.

City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer participated in the event and applauded their efforts saying, “As one of the busiest travel destinations in the country, Orlando has a thriving hotel and lodging industry, and many more properties are being built to accommodate visitor demand. I am proud to partner with AHLA, AHLEF, FRLA, and other hoteliers committed to creating jobs and investing in the lives of local individuals by providing the tools and resources needed to succeed.”

As a result of the AHLEF’s grant commitment, the Orlando ASAS will be able to expand the Opportunity Jobs Academy (OJA) program to at least two additional high schools in the Orlando area. With its seventh class currently underway at Edgewater High School, OJA is an after-school training program that focuses on developing job readiness skills to train youth for that all-important first job. The fund will also enable the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to host culinary-focused trainings for job seekers.

In Orlando, more than 190,000 young adults are looking for employment. Annually, the Orlando hotel industry has more than 7,600 job openings and nearly 400 positions currently open. The grant funds will connect these youth to employers in the hospitality industry and provide training to help them succeed.

This event was associated with the AHLA’s Hospitality is Working 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. Learn more.

What They Are Saying:

“The hotel industry supports more than eight million jobs across the United States and this Orlando grant is another step in our continued commitment to creating opportunity and economic mobility by investing in our workforce. By partnering with Mayor Dyer and local community-based organizations, we are taking a meaningful step to close the jobs gap and provide individuals with the skills to launch long, prosperous careers in the hotel industry.” – AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers

“One of the greatest challenges facing the hotel industry today is hiring associates to fill critical service positions. AHLEF is committed to developing innovative, proactive programs in Orlando and across the country that invest in our workforce, from creative recruitment and retention strategies to launching innovative industry-wide programs to upskill our workforce and expand our talent pipeline.” – AHLEF President Rosanna Maietta

“The demand for exceptional talent in our industry is greater than ever and we know we must continue working hard to meet the anticipated growth.Our Florida hotels are proud to partner with community-based organizations, such as After-School All-Stars and Second Harvest, to develop and train the next generation of hospitality leaders. We believe that this grant contribution will make a big difference in the lives of many local individuals who are ready to join this industry.” – FRLA President & CEO Carol Dover.