Grant Builds on Hospitality Workforce Development Efforts by the Hilton Foundation

WASHINGTON (December 17, 2019) – The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) has been awarded a $125,000 planning grant by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to explore the feasibility of bringing its Empowering Youth Program, which is designed to attract, prepare and retain Opportunity Youth for careers in the hotel industry, to New Orleans, Louisiana. 

The grant will allow AHLEF to conduct a market survey of the New Orleans hotel industry and to begin developing a hiring portal and toolkits for employers and community-based organizations to educate and hire the nearly 7,000 opportunity youth looking for employment within the New Orleans hotel industry. 

“We are honored to join the Hilton Foundation’s hospitality workforce development efforts in New Orleans,” said Rosanna Maietta, President of AHLEF. “To date, our Empowering Youth Program has trained over 800 youth in six cities around the country as we seek to bring more people into the hotel industry and on the path to a long-term career. We’re thrilled to explore the viability of adding New Orleans to our growing list and join with the incredible work the Foundation is already doing to advance job creation.” 

With over 800,000 open jobs in the hospitality industry, AHLEF has committed nearly $1 million in funding to community-based organizations to train and certify 8,000 Opportunity Youth – individuals between the ages of 16-24 who are out of work and out of school, but have the resiliency to succeed – by 2023. 

AHLEF piloted the Empowering Youth Program in 2018 in four cities—Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Baltimore—then expanded to Dallas and Orlando in 2019. AHLEF plans to roll out the program to four additional markets in 2020. 



The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), the charitable giving arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, is dedicated to helping people build careers that improve their lives and strengthen the lodging industry. From lifting individuals out of poverty and connecting them with a life-long career in the industry to providing certifications to promote current hotel employees into leadership positions, AHLEF’s programs are changing the industry by changing lives. Since its founding in 1953, AHLEF has distributed over $27 million in support of the industry and is committed to ensuring a strong and viable workforce for the entire lodging industry. The Foundation is funded solely by contributions from generous individuals and companies who want to give back to the hotel industry and ensure a successful future.  Learn more at

About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation 

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help individuals throughout the world living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage. The Foundation invests in 11 program areas, including providing access to safe water, supporting transition age foster youth, ending chronic homelessness, hospitality workforce development, disaster relief and recovery, helping young children affected by HIV and AIDS, and supporting the work of Catholic sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.8 billion in grants, distributing $112.5 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2018. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2.9 billion. For more information, please visit