AHLA, AHLAF, ICHRIE partner to grow workforce

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), the AHLA Foundation and the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) have entered into a new strategic partnership, with the shared goal of growing the future workforce of the hotel and hospitality industry.

The partnership comes at a critical time for the hotel industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May, employment in the broader leisure and hospitality industry was down more than 1.3 million jobs compared to before the pandemic. Hotels are looking to fill many of those jobs. In a May survey of AHLA members, 97% said their hotels are understaffed, including 49% severely understaffed.

“We are thrilled to partner with ICHRIE and its outstanding deans, directors, program leaders and members of the major hospitality universities and schools, and work together on our shared mission to strengthen the hotel industry’s talent pipeline,” said Chip Rogers, president/CEO, AHLA. “As the global leader in hospitality and tourism education and research, ICHRIE will help maximize our reach to students and educators across the nation. Together, AHLA, the AHLA Foundation and ICHRIE will ensure that all Americans preparing to the enter the workforce are aware of the multitude of great hospitality career opportunities available to them.”

As part of the new agreement, AHLA and the AHLA Foundation will participate in ICHRIE’s 75th Anniversary Conference this August in Washington, DC. Among the areas of collaboration:

  • AHLA’s COO will serve on ICHRIE’s new Industry Council to help facilitate relationships with key suppliers and service providers.
  • ICHRIE will distribute AHLA Foundation materials and facilitate access to its membership and communication channels.
  • The organizations will explore future opportunities to engage hospitality management faculty and students.

“The strategic partnership between AHLA, AHLAF and ICHRIE is a game-changer for the hospitality industry,” said Dr. Ralf Burbach, president, ICHRIE and head of hospitality management, Technological University Dublin. “It provides ideal opportunities to foster and engage in practice-oriented research, to share and promote best talent practices, to grow talent, to create a more diverse workforce with equal opportunities and to secure a steady flow of highly talented and educated students into the industry now and in the future.”

Fran Brasseux, executive director, ICHRIE, added, “At a time when the hospitality and tourism industry worldwide is experiencing an unprecedented staff shortage, it is crucial that we find ways to combine the expertise in academia with that of the industry to overcome this huge challenge.”

ICHRIE’s membership includes 350+ academic institutions representing more than 120,000 hospitality students worldwide. Together, ICHRIE, AHLA and the AHLA Foundation will strengthen their reach and visibility with this key constituency and strengthen the talent pipeline.

A key pillar of AHLA’s new strategic plan is to recruit a larger workforce and promote hospitality career opportunities. Earlier this year, the AHLA Foundation embarked on a national campaign to highlight the quality jobs and hundreds of career opportunities available in our industry.

“Our mission is to promote the many, and myriad career pathways available in our industry and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” said Rosanna Maietta, president/CEO, AHLA Foundation. “Hospitality schools are a critical component of our efforts to build the talent pipeline. We are excited to partner with ICHRIE to get our message out to even more people.”

In the past five years, the AHLA Foundation has tripled its investment in hospitality career development programs, including spending $5 million on scholarships for aspiring hospitality professionals. This partnership will expand the foundation’s existing relationships with 75+ affiliated hospitality schools, both four- and two-year programs.