AH&LA launches campaign to recruit hospitality employees

Hoteliers have grappled with a shrinking labor pool for years. Photo credit: Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

The American Hotel & Lodging Association launched Hospitality is Working, a new campaign to recruit new workers to the hospitality industry. As part of the program, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation will award $500,000 to community-based organizations in six markets where the labor market is tight, with the goal of guiding workers to the hotel industry.

The announcement was made at the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more, each represented by their mayor or other chief elected official. Working in conjunction with community leaders, the 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,” 16-24-year-olds who are out of both school and the workforce, in the hospitality industry to fill the industry’s ongoing labor shortage. 

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Over the next five years, the AH&LA expects to train and certify 8,000 opportunity youth in these high-demand markets and connect them to potential employers in the hospitality sector.

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“When you’re in the business of helping people, that starts with investing in your own,” Rosanna Maietta, president of the AHLEF and EVP of communications at the AH&LA, said in a statement. “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.”

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This announcement comes as part of the AH&LA’s ongoing investment in workforce development. This effort included a commitment over the next five years to enroll 50,000 apprentices into new and existing AH&LA 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.

“We are excited to partner with AHLA to launch this program in Orlando,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a statement. “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.”