Governor recognizes local hospitality training program


Doug Small Courtesy Ford Airport

Several partners were recognized for a new hospitality training program.

Experience Grand Rapids won one of two 2020 Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration for its partnership with Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Public Schools and AHC+Hospitality to establish the first National Academy Foundation Hospitality & Tourism academy in Michigan.

The program seeks to impact the local workforce by helping to educate and create interest in hospitality careers for local high school students, especially students of color, according to Experience GR.

In its first year, the academy helped 16 ninth-grade students strengthen their skills to potentially join the industry after graduation, said Doug Small, Experience GR president and CEO.

“This recognition of the NAF Hospitality & Tourism academy is extremely exciting for our organization and, hopefully, encouraging to our peers that are looking to impact their workforce,” Small said.

“When GVSU approached us about the NAF Hospitality & Tourism academy, we were eager to be involved. Workforce development isn’t just important to our community but the entire industry.”

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