WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Jobs for the Future (JFF), will create and implement a national Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) initiative for the restaurant, foodservice and hotel and lodging industries. To support the work of this collaborative, NRAEF recently received an award of $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment & Training Administration, with an option to renew funding for a total of five years.
The U.S. Department of Labor awarded more than $20.4 million in contracts to 14 national industry intermediaries to expand apprenticeship opportunities throughout the U.S. The contracts, part of a historic investment in apprenticeship through the Department's ApprenticeshipUSA Initiative, will support the growth of apprenticeship programs in high-growth industry sectors including hospitality, health care, energy, construction, transportation and logistics and manufacturing. Apprenticeship is a proven way for employers to build the talent they need and for workers to obtain skills and credentials that put them on a path to successful careers. A goal of this investment is to increase demographic diversity and inclusion of traditionally unrepresented audiences in apprenticeship programs nationwide. Through the HSRA initiative, a host of national restaurant operators and hotel and lodging employers have already committed to recruit and place individuals in paid apprenticeships focused on management-level positions. Additional employers are expected to join the initiative and will work with the NRAEF, AHLA and JFF to create new apprenticeship training regimens as well as build on existing programs already in place. "We know that the restaurant industry - and indeed the hospitality sector at large - provides a pathway to employment and careers for tens of millions of Americans. Our nation's one million restaurants are a place where people can rise from entry-level jobs to managers, executives and even owners. By formalizing a registered apprenticeship program focused on management-level positions, we will provide a definitive pathway with necessary instruction and training to equip people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to advance in hospitality-focused careers," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF. "We're so pleased to be able to partner with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Jobs for the Future on this critical industry initiative." "As a business of people serving people, the hotel industry thrives because our people are at the core of the industry. We proudly invest in the women and men who are the backbone of the hospitality industry and ensure they have the training, skills and resources necessary to earn promotions and climb the ladder from entry level to management, upper management, senior executives and on to the C-Suite," said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AHLA. "Our industry already supports eight million jobs and this apprenticeship program truly embodies the character of hospitality. It will provide important opportunities for the next generation of hospitality leaders to begin lifelong careers in such a dynamic industry." "We are excited about working with our industry partners to launch this new apprenticeship initiative and the opportunities it creates," said Maria Flynn, senior vice president at JFF. "We applaud their leadership and commitment to grow apprenticeships that will provide thousands of workers with career advancement opportunities and employers with a skilled and competitive hospitality workforce." About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) exists to enhance the restaurant industry's service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. In 2016, the restaurant and foodservice industry is projected to comprise one million outlets and a workforce of 14.4 million employees, making it the nation's second largest private sector employer. For more information on the NRAEF, visit ChooseRestaurants.org. About the American Hotel & Lodging Association:Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 8 million jobs the U.S. lodging industry supports, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, bed and breakfasts, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry that advances long-term career opportunities for employees, invests in local communities across the country and hosts more than one billion guests' stays in American hotels every year. AHLA proudly represents a dynamic hotel industry of more than 54,000 properties that supports $1.1 trillion in U.S. sales and contributes nearly $170 billion to the U.S. economy. Learn more at www.AHLA.com. About Jobs for the Future:Jobs for the Future (JFF) is a national nonprofit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations in the United States. We develop innovative career and educational programs and public policies that increase college readiness and career success, and build a more highly skilled, competitive workforce. With over 30 years of experience, JFF is the national leader in bridging education and work to increase economic mobility and strengthen our economy. Learn more at www.jff.org.