Grant Generates Hospitality Training For 27 Area Youth

Los Angeles, CA (July 19, 2018) – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), in partnership with the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA), Hotel Association of Los Angeles and Grads of Life, a national nonprofit, today celebrated the first graduating class of 27 local youth who received training in a hospitality industry program with local community-based organizations LeadersUp and iFoster.

As part of the training program, each youth has earned the AHLA Certified Guest Service Professional designation, the highest acknowledgement of guest service for employees in the hospitality industry. The graduation comes on the heels of a $75,000 AHLEF grant commitment to local Los Angeles community-based organizations to train youth in the hospitality industry.

AHLEF President Rosanna Maietta joined California Hotel and Lodging Association President and CEO Lynn Mohrfeld, Hotel Association of Los Angeles Chair Jonathan Litvack, Grads of Life Director Erika Cospy, and other representatives from the hotel industry at the event.

In Los Angeles, nearly 190,000 young adults are looking for employment. Each year, the Los Angeles hotel industry has more than 8,300 job openings, with 400 positions currently listed. Grant funds are helping to connect these youth to employers in the hospitality industry and provide training to help them succeed.

The event is part of AHLA’s Empowering Youth Project, an initiative of the industry’s Dreams Happen Here 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.

“The hotel industry employs more than 8 million people across the United States. This grant represents our continued commitment to providing career opportunities and driving economic growth in the hotel industry and in the communities where we live and work,” said Rosanna Maietta, President of AHLEF. “By partnering with organizations such as Grads of Life, we can take meaningful steps to close the jobs gap and provide our nation’s youth with the necessary skills to launch long, successful careers in the hotel industry.”

“The demand for talent in our industry, and especially in Los Angeles, is greater than ever, and we must continue working hard to meet the anticipated growth,” said Lynn Mohrfeld, President and CEO of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. “By providing youth the tools and training to enter the hotel industry, we will continue to make sure our industry always provides a ladder of opportunity.”

“Los Angeles hotels are proud to partner with community-based organizations like LeadersUp and iFoster to develop and train the next generation of hospitality leaders,” said Jonathan Litvack, Chair of the Hotel Association of Los Angeles. “We are confident this grant will make a big difference in the lives of many Los Angeles youth who are not only ready, but better prepared to join the exciting world of hospitality.”

“At Grads of Life, we work each day to match employers in need of talent with innovative solutions that also provide Opportunity Youth with the skills and access necessary for meaningful career pathways,” said Erika Cospy, Director of Grads of Life. “AHLA’s grant commitments will help advance our mission to close the opportunity divide and aid countless young people looking to gain stable employment in the hotel industry.”

“We applaud AHLA and CH&LA for taking the initiative to galvanize its members in using innovative solutions to finding talent that benefit both the community and businesses,” said Jeffery Wallace, CEO of LeadersUp. “Our partnership is a clear example of how industries across the nation can build a talent pipeline that connects to the diversity, skills and limitless potential of Opportunity Youth." 

About AHLA

Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the largest national association solely representing all segments of the eight million jobs the U.S. lodging industry supports, including brands, hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, bed and breakfasts, state hotel associations and industry suppliers.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA proudly represents a dynamic hotel industry of more than 54,000 properties that supports $1.1 trillion in U.S. sales and generates nearly $170 billion in taxes to local, state and federal governments.   

About CH&LA
Established in 1893, the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CH&LA) is the largest state lodging association in the nation. Its members include all segments of the lodging industry including the California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns – California’s largest association of professional innkeepers and certified boutique and breakfast inns. CH&LA protects the rights and interests of the California hotel & lodging industry. CH&LA is online at

About Grads of LifeGrads of Life is a national initiative that catalyzes market demand for Opportunity Youth (ages 16-24) by transforming employer perceptions and hiring practices.  Grads of Life places an innovative focus on the demand side of the talent marketplace, harnessing the power of the private sector to create pathways to employment for Opportunity Youth nationwide.