Do you remember getting your first college acceptance letter? Not any acceptance letter, but the letter welcoming you to the college you had your hopes on? As someone a ways away from my college days, I can tell you that feeling still lingers. 

Like many, I look back on those college days with fondness. Yet, for many individuals, the cost of pursuing a college degree may force them to work several jobs while getting a degree, go to school part-time or worse yet, hold off on pursuing higher education altogether. 

That’s why I couldn’t be prouder to be where I am today – helping to change that, one person at a time. At the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), we are committed to helping people build careers that improve their lives and strengthen our industry. One way we do that is by providing scholarships to students with interest, drive and need. We help get them on a pathway to a lifelong career in hospitality by helping them further their education. 

This week, AHLEF is awarding $1.3 million in scholarships to 344 students in 33 states and Washington, D.C!  Nearly 75 percent of our recipients are women, and more than 45 percent are minority students.

With over 1,200 applications, recipients were evaluated based on academics, financial need, experience, and passion for the hotel and lodging industry. From students with a family legacy in hospitality, to those with a lifelong dream of breaking down barriers for minorities in the industry, we strive to open doors for interested and deserving students who might otherwise not have access to a necessary education. 

It’s such a privilege to work for an industry, with a strong commitment to investing in its workforce and communities. Without the leadership of our Board of Trustees and the support of generous donors, we wouldn’t be able to provide so many talented individuals a chance to experience this industry first-hand.

Congratulations to all of AHLEF’s 344 2019 Scholarship Recipients. May your hotel journey be filled with adventure. 

— Rosanna Maietta, AHLEF President