Concord Hospitality partnered with the American Hotel & Lodging Association on a national program to offer training and jobs opportunities within the hospitality industry to opportunity youth. Through this program, Concord Hospitality and AHLA are aiming to provide these young people with the skills necessary for a lifelong career in the hotel space.
The program was initially launched in October 2017 as AHLA presented national non-profit career development organization, Grads of Life, with a commitment to provide $500,000 in grants to community-based organizations in markets such as Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore to recruit and develop “opportunity youth,” which includes six million people between the ages of 16 to 24 that are out of school and out of work.
“The hotel industry supports more than eight million jobs in the United States and currently has about 600,000 job openings,” Rosanna Maietta, president of the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation, said in a statement. “Connecting these young people to potential employers is an important step in securing their future, and will also help fill a critical labor shortage in the long-term by promoting careers in the hospitality industry.”
Alongside AHLA, Concord Hospitality committed to providing guidance and training for programs, specifically in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas over the last year.
“We are proud to support AHLA in its mission to help the youth of America not only find jobs but also establish lifelong careers,” Debra Punke, SVP of human capital and communications at Concord Hospitality, said in a statement. “Through this meaningful partnership with AHLA and other community-based organizations, Concord has been able to explore innovate hiring practices and new ways to recruit employees in order to drive young people into the hospitality industry. We look forward to continuing this partnership with AHLA and seeing the future successes and achievements of students that complete the program.”
In April 2018, AHLA and Concord Hospitality celebrated their first graduating class of 22 local Washington, D.C. youth. As part of the training program, each student earned the AHLA Certified Guest Service Professional designation, the highest acknowledgement of guest service for employees in the hospitality industry. Out of the 22 students that graduated, Concord Hospitality hired three as full-time employees.
“Coming into this program, I wasn’t aware of how quickly I’d be able to experience results and experience success from it,” Emani Wilson, one of the recent graduates who is now employed full-time as a front desk agent at Concord Hospitality’s Hyatt House Washington DC/The Wharf, said in a statement. “Since starting my job in April, I’ve seen the impact this program has had on my life and am honored that I was given a chance to be a part of it.”
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work closely with youth from our local community and allow them to see all that a career in hospitality can offer,” Jordan Gray, dual director of human resources at Concord Hospitality’s Canopy Washington, D.C. and Hyatt House Washington DC/The Wharf, said in a statement. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of the ever-growing and changing hospitality industry, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to introduce a new generation of future associates and leaders to it.”
Following the program in Washington, D.C., Concord Hospitality aims to expand its commitment to the program into other markets struggling with entry level recruitment in the coming years.