Building career pathways for youth in the hospitality sector

In honor of the legacy left behind by our founder Conrad Hilton, the Foundation has supported the hospitality industry for over 40 years, most notably through the creation of the Conrad N. Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.

This priority area works with the hospitality industry to develop career pathways models for disconnected (otherwise known as opportunity) youth, between the ages of 16-24 not connected to the educational system or employment. Responding to both the needs of the hospitality industry and the growing number of disconnected youth in the United States, the program seeks to improve the life trajectory of young people through holistic programs that focus not just on career placement but also career development.

The Foundation has chosen to focus its efforts particularly in New Orleans, a city with a large population of disconnected youth and a prominent hospitality industry. The focus on New Orleans also draws upon the Foundation’s own history with the city, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and the historical importance of the city to Hilton Hotels. The approach is two-pronged, supporting both local organizations and national work in support of local communities.

A recent example of a workforce development grant in New Orleans was to Liberty’s Kitchen, in order to expand their Youth Development Program, which provides disconnected youth with a path to self-sufficiency through foodservice training, mental health, education, and work readiness programs.

Conrad N. Hilton College

Founded in 1969 with a $1.5M personal gift from Conrad N. Hilton, his largest personal gift at the time, the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston is the Foundation’s flagship grant program in hospitality education. Over the years, the Foundation has given over $60M to expand the college’s facilities, endow professorships, and provide operating and scholarship support for under-represented groups. The University also houses the Hospitality Industry Archives, which includes much of Mr. Hilton’s personal papers and business memorabilia.

San Antonio Program

The Hilton College partnered with St. Philips College to provide students in San Antonio a cost-effective opportunity to earn a four-year Bachelor of Science Degree in Hospitality Management. The program was designed to provide a world-class hospitality education for a significantly reduced cost, making the education more accessible. Students attend St. Philips College for their general education classes, as well as the required freshman and sophomore hospitality classes and then transfer into the Hilton College’s program in San Antonio for their upper-level coursework.

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