BETHESDA, Md., May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation has committed 40.5 million RMB ($6.5 million) over five years to support China's youth through the Marriott China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI). The purpose of this initiative is to enhance the hospitality education of Chinese youth, preparing them for rewarding careers in China's booming travel and tourism industry. Marriott CHEI is now in the process of selecting 10 to 12 pilot schools for the upcoming academic year, and anticipates impacting up to 20,000 students annually in 50 schools within five years.
Marriott CHEI will support China's education system—among the world's oldest and most respected—by expanding the existing hospitality curricula and programs for universities and vocational schools. The initiative's ultimate goal is to help growing numbers of young Chinese, many from hard-pressed rural areas, climb the career ladders available in the hospitality industry.
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, a private family foundation, has a long history of helping youth secure a promising future. For over two decades, the foundation has been a lead supporter of innovative hospitality programs within colleges and universities across the United States. As the hospitality industry becomes increasingly global, the foundation's efforts have expanded to parts of the world where they can have the greatest impact. China provides just such an opportunity.
The Marriott Foundation has selected San Diego State University to be Marriott CHEI's academic advisor. Home to a world-class hospitality and tourism management school, SDSU has been working for several years with Chinese schools, industry experts and government officials—regionally and nationally—to develop programs that are respected globally and uniquely Chinese. This collaboration has identified various opportunities that CHEI intends to pursue, including:
- Professional development opportunities for students, ranging from internships and work experiences to site tours and guest speakers with experience in the industry
- Studies that include conversational English specific to the hospitality industry
- Faculty development including exchanges with universities in the United States and internships at hotels in China
- Development of unique content that will augment existing curricula
- An annual "teaching conference" to bring together leaders in hospitality education and share best practices
"We are customizing the program based on input from the industry and the impressive vocational schools and universities in China, and we hope to be part of a community of hospitality educators," said Carl H. Winston, Director of San Diego State University's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Marriott International, which has a substantial presence in China, has agreed to serve as CHEI's initial industry advisor. CHEI will benefit from Marriott International's experience in China, and from the company advising on curriculum relevance, assisting with data to measure program outcomes, hosting faculty internships at partner schools, and providing hotel internships for students.
"The Marriott hotels in China are very excited to open doors of opportunity to Chinese youth," said Simon Cooper, President of Asia-Pacific for Marriott International. "We are eager to support CHEI's efforts to prepare talented students for the diverse, fast-paced and fulfilling career opportunities that our hospitality industry offers."
Funded entirely by the Marriott Foundation, CHEI reflects the Marriott family's ongoing efforts to help young people fulfill their potential and realize their ambitions. "The China Hospitality Education Initiative honors the legacy of my parents, and supports our goal of providing youth with educational opportunities," said J.W. Marriott, Jr., trustee of the Marriott Foundation and executive chairman of Marriott International. "More than 90 years ago, a college professor saw potential in my father and helped him obtain an education. That provided him the knowledge and skills to start a family business that eventually became Marriott International. Today, my family and I are fortunate to continue this tradition."
About The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation:
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation was established in 1965 with the purpose of giving back to the community. Under the current direction of J.W. Marriott, Jr. and Richard E. Marriott, the Marriott Foundation is dedicated to helping youth secure a promising future, especially through education on the secondary and higher education levels, mentoring and youth leadership programs. Equally important are organizations that help provide relief from hunger and disasters; support people with disabilities; and create gainful employment opportunities for vulnerable youth and adults.
About San Diego State University:
San Diego State University is a nationally ranked research university that provides more than 30,000 students with a robust academic curriculum that includes an increasing international emphasis. The L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) is housed within the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts at SDSU. The vision of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is to be "the most personalized school of its kind in developing hospitality leaders," and HTM pursues this goal by tailoring programs that meet both industry needs and student expectations. For more information visit www.sdsu.edu/htm
About Marriott International:
Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA with nearly 3,800 properties in 74 countries and territories and reported revenues of over $12 billion in fiscal year 2011. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 18 brands. For more information or reservations, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com.
SOURCE The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation