WASHINGTON (January 17, 2023) – The AHLA Foundation is granting $370,000 to community-based organizations that help change the lives of Opportunity Youth – individuals between 16-24 who are out of school and looking for work—by preparing them for future hotel careers as part of the Empowering Youth Program (EYP). The initiative continues to bring together hotels and local community-based organizations to train Opportunity Youth and set them up for success for jobs in hospitality.

Through existing and newly formed partnerships, the AHLA Foundation will engage organizations in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Orlando, and Washington, D.C., to help train an estimated 500 youth for hotel jobs. These recently awarded grants are part of EYP – an effort focused on engaging, educating, and advancing new talent in hospitality.

“This year, we are investing more money than ever before by expanding our Empowering Youth Program to meet the workforce needs of our industry and the communities in which we are working,” said Sarah Cozewith, Vice President of Workforce Development at the AHLA Foundation. “Through our dynamic partnerships with community-based organizations, the Empowering Youth Program plays a major role in equipping job seekers with the skills, tools and employer support needed to prosper in the hospitality industry.”

By providing participants with professional resources, industry-recognized credentials and training, Opportunity Youth benefit from learning the skills required to succeed and advance in the hotel industry. The below organizations received a grant from the AHLA Foundation:

“Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program not only prepares students for a sustainable career in food service, but it is also a vital pipeline for Orlando’ hospitality-driven economy,” said Derrick Chubbs, president and CEO at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “The AHLA Foundation has been a steadfast partner, providing hands-on opportunities for student learning and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into developing future culinarians.”

These grants complement the Foundation’s recently solidified strategic partnership with Job Corps, a nationwide career training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. This first of its kind relationship for Job Corps and the hospitality industry allows both entities to tap into each other’s networks and resources and promote hospitality careers to the thousands of opportunity youth served by Job Corps’ more than 120 locations across the country. 
Through nationwide partnerships and individualized grants in specific communities, the industry is preparing the next generation of the hospitality workforce nationwide. To learn more about EYP and our partnerships with community-based organizations, please visit