AHLA and AHLEF are joining with community-based organizations in major cities across the country to offer grants to help attract young people for careers in the hospitality industry. 

This national program recruits young people for entry-level positions, and it nurtures and develops them with training, tools and support that will lead to permanent careers in hospitality. We focus on Opportunity Youth, who are ages 16-24 and out of school and unemployed, but who have the desire and resilience to succeed in the workplace. We will engage with 1,000 Opportunity Youth over the next two years. Each will receive the AHLA Certified Guest Service Professional designation, the highest acknowledgment of guest service for employees in the hospitality industry. 

AHLEF and AHLA have committed $500,000 in grants to community-based organizations to kick-start pilot programs in four high-demand cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. To distribute our grants and execute the pilots, AHLA has partnered with Grads of Life, the leading national nonprofit specializing in helping employers build talent pipelines for Opportunity Youth. This is not a short-term intervention, but a long-term solution. For young adults, it provides pathways to opportunity and success that will lead to lifelong employment. For AHLA members, it will increase access to quality talent for in-demand positions and improve staff retention year after year.

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