Representatives from the Minneapolis Hotel Association and Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association (GMCVA) presented a check for $6,000 to Washburn High School's Academy of Tourism and Hospitality program on Nov. 18 at Minneapolis City Hall, 350 S. 5th St.
The Academy of Tourism and Hospitality is a small learning community at Washburn, 201 W. 49th St. that offers vocational training to pursue the hospitality industry in various capacities.
Funds were raised through an annual golf tournament. This is the largest sum from the tournament to benefit the 10-year-old program at Washburn (similar programs can also be found at other schools nationwide). The Minneapolis Hotel Association and GMCVA give yearly to the academy.
As part of the program, students train for jobs that range from travel agents to chief executive officers at hotels or other businesses. Many students shadow professionals, find mentors and complete real-world projects. Over 400 kids have graduated from the academy at Washburn.
Local entrepreneurs want to keep the program running. President and CEO of the GMCVA Greg Ortale said that the organization has a responsibility to give back to the community. Plus, “We're growing our own,” he said. “We'll have people who're already familiar [with us].”
President of the Minneapolis Hotel Association Tom Mason said the fund-raiser is important community work since hospitality/tourism is now the second largest field in Minnesota.
Godfrey Edaferierhi, who helps coordinate the Washburn Academy, remarked that the funds would go a long way, providing for field trips, senior projects, scholarships and other supplies.