Scholarships Immediately Available to “Upskill” Workers and Create Career Pathways 

Scholarships Immediately Available to “Upskill” Workers and Create Career Pathways

MEDIA CONTACT: Jillian Henze, Communications Manager, 360-956-7279 ext. 124,

Scholarships Immediately Available to “Upskill” Workers and Create Career Pathways

The Washington Hospitality Association is currently offering scholarships aimed at connecting workers with skills improvement classes for hospitality employees. Through a new Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) pilot program, these opportunities are available to all hospitality employees in the state.  Employers or workers wishing to take advantage of the funding can view conditions for participation and registration through the Hospitality Association’s Scholarship webpage.

What kind of training do employees need to retain hospitality jobs? The Hospitality Association has created a raft of training options that employers from across the state have indicated are critical skills and certifications for hospitality employees.  This program aims to connect skills improvement training with the people who want to advance.

Washington State residents can contact the association and apply for scholarships that grant employees AHLEI Customer Service Gold training, ServSafe Alcohol certification, ServSafe Manager Certification, Anti- Trafficking awareness training, and more. This program is designed to bring important certifications to businesses with little to no investment beyond the time needed for workers to apply and participate.  There is also no limit on applicants from a single business.

Naja Hogander, the Washington Hospitality Association’s Workforce Education Foundation manager recently shared at an industry roundtable that, “One of the biggest pain points for the hospitality industry in the state right now is workforce development and retention. An ideal incumbent worker training would be one where a participant acquires new skills allowing him or her to move into a higher skilled and higher paid job within the company, thus allowing the company to hire a job seeker to backfill the incumbent worker’s position.”

“This program is designed to increase both a participant’s and a company’s competitiveness,” Hogander shared. “The Hospitality Association is dedicated to being a preeminent stop for the kind of training, whatever it is, that hospitality employers need for their employees. It is also critical that we create training opportunities that are digital, and available to workers in whatever format reaches them the fastest and most effectively. This program satisfies all of these requirements.”

The Washington Hospitality Association is dedicated to creating viable and sustainable career pathways for workers in the state. By using and leveraging this new program, not only can hospitality workers hone their skillset, but they can also begin to pave the way for upward mobility in their workplace by using the new skills gained in the association Incumbent Worker Training program.

The Association Incumbent Worker Training program is funded through a partnership between the Hospitality Association and the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council.


About Washington’s Hospitality Industry

Hospitality is the industry that serves. It represents the largest group of private employers in the state, and the jobs the industry provides are the backbone of our state’s economy. Local restaurants and hotels employs more than 280,000 Washingtonians, and together hospitality businesses generate $17 billion annually in direct financial impact for Washington. Each year, the hospitality industry also pays more than $1 billion in state sales and B&O taxes and more than $5.7 billion in wages. The hospitality industry is key to the health of our state, the careers of our citizens and the vitality of our communities.

About the Washington Hospitality Association

The Washington Hospitality Association is a member-based organization that works at the state and local levels to find proactive solutions to the challenging issues facing the industry and its workforce. It provides its members with programs, services and the information they need to deliver great local experiences, ensure the success of their employees and help their communities thrive. The Washington Hospitality Association became the state’s second-largest trade association in 2016 when the Washington Restaurant Association and Washington Lodging Association joined forces in a combined association.

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