Restaurant and Hotel Industry Leaders Go To Work on $1.8 Million Contract from U.S. Department Of Labor

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and American Hotel & Lodging Association tasked to develop industry’s first-ever approved hospitality sector apprenticeship program – conduct official signing ceremony

WASHINGTON, DC – February 21, 2017 – The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) held a commitment signing ceremony event on Tuesday, February 21 to mark the beginning of the national Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) project.

NRAEF and AHLA received a $1.8 million contract from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to place more than 400 individuals in apprenticeships in the restaurant, foodservice and hotel and lodging industries through HSRA. HSRA will place individuals in paid apprenticeships focused on management-level positions across the hospitality and foodservice industries, translating into increased skills, higher wages, recognized credentials and a career advancement plan.

“It was great to come together with the USDOL and AHLA to kick-off the start of HSRA,” said Rob Gifford, Executive Vice President, NRAEF. “The program will create partnerships that will result in more affordable education and training for hospitality, restaurant and foodservice industry employees, while attracting people to the industry and working with them to progress their careers. Employers will also benefit with a more skilled, diverse and competitive workforce, reduced turnover costs, and higher productivity.”

“As a business of people serving people, the hotel industry thrives because our people are at the core of the industry,” said Joori Jeon, President & COO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (AHLEF). “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. We are thrilled to embark on this new apprenticeship program that truly embodies the character of hospitality. Our shared goals of pursuing on-the-job training and career advancement will provide important opportunities for the next generation of hospitality leaders to begin lifelong careers in our dynamic industry.”

DOL Signing
From left to right: Rob Gifford (NRAEF), Joori Jeon (AHLA) and Jose Velazquez (USDOL)

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

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 in local, state and federal taxes. Learn more at

Media Contacts:
Tori Hyndman, NRAEF                          Katie Longo, AHLA                                                                                                                        
202-315-4108                                         202-289-3148