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The Alaska Youth Hospitality Workforce Development Initiative

When the world visits Alaska, the people who work in the state's restaurants and hotels are often the first storytellers that guests encounter.

These interactions form the essence of unforgettable experiences, crafting lasting memories that are as vivid as the stunning Alaskan scenery itself.


In the majestic backdrop of Alaska, the hospitality industry stands as a cornerstone of both local economies and cultural exchange.

Recognizing this vital role, we are excited to introduce the

Alaska Youth Hospitality Workforce Development Initiative

This initiative aims to cultivate a robust, skilled, and enthusiastic workforce, specifically targeting Alaskan youth aged 16-24.

Through comprehensive training, apprenticeships, industry certifications and and connection to employers, this project is designed to bolster Alaska's hospitality sector and provide invaluable career opportunities for young Alaskans.




  • Tourism is a renewable resource.

  • 2.7 million visitors came to Alaska between May of 2022 and April of 2023.

  • Visitor spending increased 40% from 2016 to 2022.

  • Travelers spend an average of 8.5 nights in the state.

  • Tourism is responsible for $3.9 billion in direct spending in 2022-23.

  • Tourism is responsible for $5.6 billion in total economic impact to Alaska in 2022-23.

  • Tourism marketing investments keep Alaska top-of-mind among travelers considering competing destinations around the world

Effective Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Development 
Matters in Alaska

  • In 2022-2023, tourism in Alaska generated $5.6 billion in total economic output - including $3.9 billion in direct spending.

  • The industry provided more than 52,000 jobs in Alaska in 2019, making it a major employer in the state.

  • The tourism sector created more than $1.4 billion in payroll and had an economic impact of $4.5 billion in 2018.

  • It also generated significant state and municipal revenues, with more than $126 million in state revenues and $88 million in municipal revenues coming from the visitor industry through various taxes and fees.

  • One in ten jobs in Alaska is linked to the tourism industry, highlighting its importance in the state's employment landscape.

Strategy Overview


Vision & Mission



To be a leading force in Alaska’s hospitality sector development by consistently empowering youth with skills, certifications, and career opportunities, thereby fostering economic growth and cultural enrichment.




Our mission is to equip Alaskan youth aged 16-24 with comprehensive hospitality skills, industry-recognized certifications, and direct pathways to employment, ensuring a sustainable, skilled, and diverse workforce for Alaska’s hospitality industry.


How do we do it? 

Youth Skill Development:

  • Develop and implement a structured training curriculum focusing on key hospitality areas like customer service, culinary arts, and hotel management.

  • Integrate soft skills training to enhance communication, teamwork, and leadership abilities among participants.


Apprenticeship and Real-World Experience:

  • Formulate partnerships with local hospitality businesses to offer apprenticeships, providing practical, hands-on experience.

  • Ensure that apprenticeships cover various hospitality sectors to give a broad perspective and diverse experience.


Certification and Employment Pathways:

  • Collaborate with certification bodies to facilitate access to industry-recognized qualifications.

  • Establish a robust network of employers willing to prioritize hiring program graduates.


Sustainable Workforce Pipeline:

  • Create a mentorship program linking industry veterans with youths, fostering guidance and ongoing professional development.

  • Develop a feedback mechanism with all stakeholders to continually refine and adapt the program.


Community and Industry Engagement:

  • Engage with community leaders and hospitality industry stakeholders to align the program with local needs and opportunities.

  • Promote the program through targeted outreach in schools, community centers, and social media to maximize participation.


Measurement and Continuous Improvement:

  • Implement a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system to track program outcomes and impact.

  • Use data-driven insights to continually improve program offerings and adapt to changing industry needs.


  • UAA Culinary and Hospitality faculty and administrators,

  • UA Workforce Development VP

  • ASD CTE Director, King Tech Culinary

  • AVTEC Culinary and Facilities Maintenance staff

  • Job Corp Staff,

  • Alaska Military Youth Academy

  • Covey Academy

  • My House

  • Nine Star

  • Alaska CHARR,

  • ATIA

  • Hotel and Lodging staff,

  • Hutcheson High School / Fairbanks SD CTE director, Culinary Arts / UAF CTC Culinary Arts or administrator

  • National Restaurant Association 

  • National Hotel and Lodging Association 

Collaboration requires

Consistent Access: To the attention of Alaska youth and their aspirations.

Effective Storytelling: There are vibrant hospitality careers available in Alaska! Are we connecting those stories with Alaska youth?


Motivated Education: Clearly illuminated career pathways combined with recognized credentials, and industry connection.


Administrative Excellence: Caseworkers and program managers make the world go round!

Who does the project serve

OUTCOME: Provide access for a workforce development system (career training  and hospitality pathway illumination & job placement) to recruit, train and employ 16-24 year-old Alaskans for work in the hospitality industry with preparation with customer service skills, cooking skills, and facilities maintenance skills.

The People


Potential Participant Profiles 


The Programming 


Hospitality Ready 

For participants just entering the hospitality industry. The following certifications provide a firm foundation of knowledge, skills, and abilities, for success in line level positions and advancement.  

15 Day Program

(Includes RTI for Line Cook Apprenticeship)

Work Readiness
Personal Skills


Ready to Supervise  

Fundamentals of Managing Restaurant Operations
Fundamentals of Restaurant Leadership
Introduction to Restaurant P&Ls; Monitoring & Controlling Costs
Managing Food Safety, Sanitation & Risk Management


ServSuccess (CRS)

For participants who have enjoyed some success in the industry and are ready to take next steps in their careers.  They have the respect of their teams and are ready to move towards leadership.

90 Day Program

(Includes RTI for Line Cook, Restaurant Manager & Kitchen Manager DOL HSRA Apprenticeships)

Apprenticeship – RM

Apprenticeship – LC

Apprenticeship - KM




Ready to Manage

These participants are most likely incumbent workers who have already enjoyed increased responsibility and have supervised shifts. They are respected by staff, and deliberate and focused professional development strategies will create ideal managers for restaurants and hotels. 

120 Day Program

(Includes RTI for Line Cook, Restaurant Manager & Kitchen Manager DOL HSRA Apprenticeships)




The Plan 


For Workforce Development Professionals:

"Discover innovative workforce solutions with the Alaska Hospitality Taskforce! With a collective expertise spanning decades in hospitality and workforce training, plus a solid foundation in public administration and economics, the Taskforce offers unparalleled insights into developing effective hospitality workforces. As keynote speakers and facilitators, they present a global perspective on unique hospitality challenges, combining engaging storytelling with actionable strategies. Join the Taskforce in shaping a dynamic and skilled hospitality workforce for the future."


For Hospitality Employers:


"Enhance your hospitality business with state-of-the-art workforce strategies from the Alaska Hospitality Taskforce. Their extensive background in the hospitality industry, enriched by an in-depth knowledge of public administration and economics, uniquely positions them to elevate your team. As engaging speakers and collaborators, they bring globally-informed insights into workforce development, assisting you in crafting a team that's not just skilled, but exceptional. Collaborate with the Taskforce to transform your staff into a beacon of hospitality excellence."


For CTE Educators:


"Enrich your curriculum with the Alaska Hospitality Taskforce's real-world expertise in hospitality. Boasting a rich background in the sector and an expert grasp on training and education, the Taskforce is poised to offer invaluable insights to your CTE programs. As engaging speakers and facilitators, they blend captivating global stories with effective training techniques, providing a unique learning experience for educators and students alike. Partner with the Taskforce to inspire and equip the next generation of hospitality professionals."



Strategic Plan for Alaskan Youth Hospitality Workforce Development Initiative

Phase 1: Stakeholder Identification and Categorization


Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness:

  • Identify stakeholders with deep roots in Alaska's diverse cultures.

  • Collaborate with local cultural institutions and leaders.


Community Engagement and Outreach:

  • Partner with community organizations, schools, and youth groups.

  • Engage local influencers and community leaders for program advocacy.


Educational Program Development:

  • Work with educators and curriculum developers specializing in hospitality.

  • Integrate innovative and interactive teaching methodologies.


Expertise in Hospitality Industry:

  • Collaborate with experienced hospitality professionals and industry leaders.

  • Involve local hospitality businesses for real-world insights.


Marketing and Communication:

  • Engage marketing professionals with experience in youth-oriented campaigns.

  • Utilize diverse media channels to reach a broad audience.


Partnership Building:

  • Establish connections with hospitality businesses, educational institutions, and government bodies.

  • Focus on creating internship and apprenticeship opportunities.


Digital Literacy and Technology Use:

  • Incorporate digital tools for remote learning and engagement.

  • Partner with tech firms for innovative learning solutions.


Funding and Resource Management:

  • Collaborate with governmental and non-profit organizations for funding.

  • Develop sustainable financial models for the program.


Monitoring and Evaluation:

  • Implement a robust monitoring and evaluation system to track progress.

  • Regularly assess and adapt the program based on feedback.


Logistics and Event Planning:

  • Plan and execute workshops, seminars, and training sessions across Alaska.

  • Ensure accessibility and engagement in various geographical areas.

The strategic plan will unfold in phases, prioritizing stakeholder engagement and community integration to create a comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and impactful program that empowers Alaskan youth in the hospitality industry.


Phase 2: Program Development and Implementation

Following the stakeholder identification and categorization in Phase 1, Phase 2 focuses on the detailed development and implementation of the Alaskan Youth Hospitality Workforce Development Initiative.


This phase involves several key steps:


Program Design and Curriculum Development:

  • Develop a comprehensive curriculum tailored to the unique needs of Alaskan youth, incorporating NRAEF and AHLEI certifications and customer service training.

  • Integrate cultural sensitivity and awareness into all educational materials and training programs.


Statewide Marketing Campaign Development:

  • Launch a comprehensive marketing campaign targeting industry stakeholders, civic leaders, educators, and legislators to promote the initiative and its objectives.

  • Create a separate, youth-focused campaign highlighting the history and opportunities in Alaska's hospitality industry, including the benefits of certifications and educational pathways.


Apprenticeship and Certification Program Setup:

  • Establish 200 NRAEF hospitality apprenticeships, ensuring geographic and demographic representation across Alaska.

  • Organize training and certification programs for 200 youths in Guest Service Gold-Customer Service and 20 incumbent employees in Certified Restaurant Professional certification.


Partnership Activation and Engagement:

  • Activate partnerships with identified stakeholders for resources, internships, and support.

  • Foster collaboration between local businesses, hospitality organizations, and educational institutions.


Digital Infrastructure and Technology Integration:

  • Develop and deploy digital platforms for remote learning, especially in rural areas.

  • Utilize technology for effective program delivery and participant engagement.


Funding Allocation and Resource Management:

  • Efficiently allocate and manage funds secured in Phase 1.

  • Identify additional funding sources and manage resources to sustain the program.


Logistics for Workshops and Training Sessions:

  • Organize and execute a series of workshops, seminars, and hands-on training sessions.

  • Ensure these events are accessible and relevant to diverse groups across the state.


Program Launch and Outreach Activities:

  • Officially launch the initiative with events and activities across Alaska.

  • Conduct community outreach to increase program visibility and participation.


Monitoring, Evaluation, and Feedback Integration:

  • Implement a system to monitor program progress and evaluate its impact.

  • Regularly gather feedback from participants and stakeholders to refine and improve the program.


In Phase 2, the emphasis is on bringing the planned elements of the initiative to life, ensuring that the program is not only well-structured and comprehensive but also adaptable and responsive to the needs and feedback of participants and stakeholders.


This phase is crucial for establishing a strong foundation for the initiative's success and long-term sustainability.



Phase 3: Expansion, Sustainability, and Continuous Improvement

After the development and initial implementation in Phase 2, Phase 3 focuses on expanding, sustaining, and continuously improving the Alaskan Youth Hospitality Workforce Development Initiative.


This phase includes several crucial components:


Program Expansion and Scalability:

  • Assess opportunities to expand the initiative to reach more youth across Alaska.

  • Explore scalability options, including additional apprenticeship and certification opportunities.

Sustainability Planning:

  • Develop long-term strategies to ensure the sustainability of the initiative.

  • Seek ongoing funding sources, including government grants, private sponsorships, and partnerships.

Continuous Improvement through Feedback and Data Analysis:

  • Continuously collect and analyze data from participants and stakeholders.

  • Use this data to make informed adjustments and improvements to the program.


Advanced Marketing and Community Engagement:

  • Enhance marketing efforts to keep the initiative visible and attractive to new participants.

  • Strengthen community engagement through regular events, workshops, and success story sharing.


Alumni Network Development and Engagement:

  • Create an alumni network for past participants to foster community, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

  • Engage alumni in program advocacy and continuous improvement efforts.


Further Educational and Career Pathway Development:

  • Establish more advanced training and education pathways for participants seeking higher qualifications or specialized skills in hospitality.

  • Strengthen connections with the hospitality industry for career advancement opportunities.


Strengthened Partnerships and Collaborative Efforts:

  • Deepen existing partnerships and form new collaborations to enhance program reach and impact.

  • Collaborate with industry leaders to ensure the program remains relevant and aligned with current industry needs.


Technology Integration and Digital Learning Enhancement:

  • Continuously update digital learning platforms and technology used in the program.

  • Leverage emerging technologies to enhance the learning experience and accessibility.


Impact Assessment and Reporting:

  • Conduct comprehensive impact assessments to gauge the initiative's success and areas for improvement.

  • Regularly report progress and outcomes to stakeholders, funders, and the community.


Event Organization and Public Relations:

  • Organize significant events to celebrate milestones and successes of the program.

  • Utilize public relations to highlight the initiative's impact and success stories.


In Phase 3, the focus is on ensuring that the initiative not only maintains its momentum but also grows and evolves in response to changing needs, new opportunities, and continuous learning.


This phase is critical for solidifying the initiative's role in the Alaskan hospitality industry and its contribution to the professional and personal development of Alaskan youth.


By prioritizing sustainability, adaptability, and community engagement, this phase aims to establish the initiative as a lasting and influential force in shaping the future of the hospitality workforce in Alaska.



If you feel that you or your organization would benefit from connection to the Alaska Youth  Hospitality Education Initiative please send us your contact information below and we will make sure you receive all updates about progress, events, meetings, and opportunities for collaboration. 

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