2019 White House Event

Johnny Brummit, a breakfast cook at Aloft Hotel in Downtown Orlando and graduate of the AHLEF Empowering Youth Project joined AHLA CEO Chip Rogers and several other AHLEF program recipients at the White House today to celebrate the one year anniversary of The Pledge to America's Worker. AHLEF, together with AHLA, signed the pledge to invest in current and future employees through training and education.

Johnny exemplifies how smart, creative programs can change lives. As the youngest of four children, Brummit grew up in a subsidized housing project in Orlando and had to support himself for most necessities, leading to several visits in juvenile detention. Yet, he developed a love for cooking with his grandmother and had the chance to turn his hobby into a career when he enrolled in Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program supported by AHLEF. Brummit spent 16 weeks learning a variety of cooking techniques, safe food handling skills and how to prepare cuisine from around the world. Now, he is working full-time in the industry and credit’s AHLEF’s program as providing him the support system he needed to succeed. 

“Words cannot explain how I have grown through this experience,” said Johnny. “When I walk into a kitchen now, I tell myself, ‘I can do this.’" "I just want to let people know, no matter where you come from, you've got to keep pushing." 

Johnny was joined by AHLA President Chip Rogers, Azeem Bhatti, Jaquan Hargis and Coretta Bradley at the White House. 

  • Azeem Bhatti currently works at the TownePlace Suites in Springfield, VA, and he was recently selected by his employer at Aimbridge to join AHLA’s apprenticeship program.
  • Jaquan Hargis currently works as a culinary steward at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel. Jaquan graduated from AHLEF’s Baltimore Empowering Youth Project in May 2019. 
  • Coretta Bradley works at Real Hospitality Group and went through the AHLEF apprenticeship program. She has earned 7 industry certifications to advance her career, including the prestigious AHLA Certified Hospitality Supervisor designation. 

Hotels are unique for offering jobs and career paths that do not require a college degree but still get you to the C-Suite. Indeed, many global C-Suite executives and nearly half of all general managers started their careers in entry-level positions as dishwashers, bellmen, or front desk agents. That’s why we were proud to sign the pledge. We’ve committed to enrolling 50,000 apprentices over the next five years, while also certifying 125,000 job seekers and current employees with industry certifications and enrolling 5,000 employees into our Debt-Free College program. 

“The American Dream is alive and well in the hotel industry and we are continually inspired by our employees and committed to help them achieve exceptional careers,” said Rosanna Maietta, AHLEF President. “As an industry that is centered on people taking care of people, the hotel industry’s Foundation is proud to offer a variety of workforce programs that help recruit, retain and train our industry’s employees to advance and move up the ladder of opportunity.”

We pledge to support American workers, like Johnny, Azeem, Jaquan, and Coretta, every day, helping them achieve their American Dream in the hotel industry and partnering with individuals who share that same commitment. 

To watch the full event video, click HERE or view the official remarks HERE

White House Event- 2019

Official White House Photos by Shealah Craighead

White House Event Johnny

Official White House Photos by Shealah Craighead

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Official White House Photos by Shealah Craighead

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Pictured from left to right, AHLA President Chip Rogers, Azeem Bhatti with Aimbridge Hospitality, Jaquan Hargis with the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel, Matthew West and Coretta Bradley with Real Hospitality Group, Johnny Brummit with Aloft Hotel Downtown Orlando, Idalia Nunez with Second Harvest, Noreen Hiltz and Mallory Davis with Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel.