Transforming Opportunity in the Hospitality Industry through Apprenticeship
In November 2016, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association, secured a $1.8 million contract from the U.S. Department of Labor to develop a management-level apprenticeship program for the hospitality industry. NRAEF and AHLA will use the contract to build career pathways and highlight the breadth of careers available in the restaurant and hospitality sector.
This week, I spoke at a signing ceremony at the National Restaurant Association in Washington, D.C., to formally kick off the partnership. The atmosphere was one of anticipation and collaboration, an occasion to look forward to the tremendous potential that these partnerships have to benefit workers and employers alike. I was joined by my friends Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, and Joori Jeon, executive vice president and CFO of American Hotel & Lodging Association, who also expressed their confidence in the partnership to transform their industry.
Ninety-one percent of apprentices remain employed after completing programs, with average annual starting wages above $50,000. Studies indicate that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers receive an average return of $1.47 in increased productivity.
One goal of this investment is to increase demographic diversity and inclusion of traditionally unrepresented audiences in apprenticeship programs nationwide. The apprenticeship will take entry-level employees or up-and-coming supervisors and produce highly qualified managers upon completion of the program. It will translate into increased skills, higher wages, recognized credentials and a career advancement plan. The Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship initiative will provide employers with a skilled and competitive workforce, reduced turnover costs, higher productivity and a more diverse workforce.
The contract requires the partners to:
- Identify the skills and competencies required to be a hospitality or foodservice manager.
- Develop approved USDOL apprenticeship standards for hospitality and foodservice managers.
- Enroll 450 individuals into the apprenticeship program from the restaurant and hospitality industries combined by fall 2017.
The partnership is part of an initiative that provides more than $20.4 million in contract awards to 14 national industry intermediaries and national equity partners to expand apprenticeship opportunities across the United States. Our team at the Office of Apprenticeship is fully committed to working with our awardees to modernize apprenticeship and extend its benefits to a wider population of the American workforce.
In her remarks, Ms. Jeon explained why the partnership can be so transformative for individual workers, their families, and employers: “As a business of people serving people, the hotel industry thrives because our people are at the core of the industry. 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.”
Jose Velazquez is the deputy administrator for the Office of Apprenticeship at the Employment and Training Administration.