New Hotel Industry Program to Offer Debt-Free College Degrees to Employees

More industries need to do this … build your future workforce.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and its foundation arm, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), have debuted a pilot program to offer higher education pathways to the hospitality workforce at little or no cost to the employee, made possible through a partnership with Pearson. Eligible employees of 10 participating hotel companies across 1,500 properties will be able to complete a free associate degree and a low-cost bachelor’s degree.

“We support more than eight million jobs in every community across America,” said Katherine Lugar, president/CEO of AHLA, noting that the pilot program is “an incredibly important effort to build on our long commitment to empowering our workforce.”

Noting that many working adults are interested in higher education options, but rising tuition costs, competing personal responsibilities and student debt push it out of reach, the partnership aims to give working adults in the hotel industry a more affordable and more flexible education, while helping employers to attract and retain good employees.

“Our industry exemplifies the American Dream, fostering development and providing opportunities for upward mobility and exciting lifelong careers,” Lugar said. “Nearly half of our industry’s general managers began their careers in entry-level positions, as well as many of our global C-suite executives, who started as dishwashers, bellmen and front-desk agents.”

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