Today was a good day for our AHLEF Foundation team. We left the office together, all six of us, piling into one car and made our way to the Goodwill of Greater Washington, where, because of our funding, we joined in celebrating 24 talented individuals who graduated from a hospitality job training program and are ready – and eager – for jobs in the hotel industry.

It was by turns inspiring, emotional and uplifting. Tambari Pianwi, one of the two young valedictorians shared his inspiration: his hard-working parents who taught him commitment and integrity. His motto: Dare to be different. On graduation day he had one hotel job in the bag and a second on offer.

We were honored to have AHLA Vice Chair and Empowering Youth Program donor Jon Bortz and the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C. President and CEO Solomon Keene participate at the event and welcome the students into the industry.

Jon, Chairman, President and CEO of Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, offered his advice to the grads: be on time, look ahead to opportunities but do you current job well and bring passion to everything you do. Smart advice for work and life.

Since 2018, AHLEF has provided over $100,000 to the Goodwill of Greater Washington and Covenant House as part of our Empowering Youth Project to invest in recruitment opportunities for those seeking to enter the hospitality industry. Since the initial grant was given, nearly 100 job seekers have received hospitality training in D.C.

It was a real privilege today to join the amazing, talented and big-hearted trainers at Goodwill who have clearly taken this group of graduates under their wing. We know they will thrive in hospitality and we are so excited about their journey.

Congratulations graduates and welcome to the hotel industry!