WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) announced the appointment of two new hires who will focus primarily on career development for the hospitality industry as well as oversee the new partnership between AHLA and the National Restaurant Association (NRA), which will enhance hospitality training, certification capabilities and educational products.
Tapped as Senior Vice President of Career Development, Shelly Weir will oversee the strategic vision of workforce development. She will support the AHLA and Foundation agenda through career development to help strengthen the lodging industry workforce, and will lead efforts to engage with community, non-profit, and governmental organizations where strategies to upskill American workers in the lodging industry align, including grants and contract management programs, such as the Department of Labor’s Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship (HSRA) initiative, which supports the growth of apprenticeship programs in the hospitality sector.
AHLEF Coordinator Kelly Vazquez will assist the Foundation team with workforce development efforts, government grants, scholarship efforts and other programs to ensure hospitality employers have the tools and resources they need to obtain skills and credentials that put them on a path to long-term successful careers. Both Shelly and Kelly come to the Foundation from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), formerly AHLA’s sister organization, which recently transitioned to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), in a deal that goes into effect February 1.
In addition, Shelly will be spearheading efforts to expand apprenticeship opportunities in the hospitality industry through the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. AHLA, in partnership with NRA’s Foundation (NRAEF) and Jobs for the Future, recently received a $1.8 million award in which the three organizations are working with restaurant operators and hotel and lodging employers nationwide to recruit and place individuals in paid apprenticeships focused on management-level positions. Shelly will lead AHLA’s efforts to ensure new apprenticeship training regimens are created as well as working to build on existing programs already in place.
“As a business of people serving people, the hotel industry thrives because our people are at the core of the industry. We are excited to welcome two new talented members to the Educational Foundation team who will focus on ensuring our current employees and future talent 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,” said Joori Jeon, president of AHLEF. “At AHLA and the Foundation, we are always striving to reach new heights. Our industry already supports eight million jobs, and both Shelly and Kelly will provide invaluable opportunities for so many in our industry today as well as for the next generation of hospitality leaders.”
Both Shelly and Kelly will serve as liaisons to bridge the work at AHLA and the Foundation with the NRA, ensuring the organizations will continue to provide hospitality professionals with the critical education and training that fosters long-term career opportunities.