On Monday, Morris Brown College and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation announced a 20-year, $3 million to digitize and market the school’s Hospitality Certificate program.
On Monday, Morris Brown College and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation announced a 20-year, $3 million to digitize and market the school’s Hospitality Certificate program. Supported by the foundation’s Youth Development giving area, it will help Morris Brown College students outside of the metro Atlanta area who may have challenges getting to the college.
“I am thrilled about this collaboration with the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, which has a long history of supporting young people, including in the Westside of Atlanta where Morris Brown is situated,” said Dr. Kevin James, president of Morris Brown College. “We anticipate Morris Brown becoming a prominent source of diverse talent for careers in hospitality and organizational leadership. My vision is for Morris Brown to emerge as one of the premier institutions in the nation for Black and Brown individuals to acquire expertise in hospitality, with a particular focus on working in and managing restaurants and hotels.”
The Hospitality Certificate program will include a partnership with Hilton Hotels to build a hotel on campus, which will provide classroom and training spaces for students. The collaboration of this partnership will help Morris Brown students gain needed skills and connect them to job opportunities but also help address the labor shortage in the hospitality industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that between 2021 and 2031 the hospitality industry will produce 1.9 million jobs.
Youth Development is one of five new giving areas at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. This portfolio is focused on scaling alternative pathways to economic mobility for young people in rural communities, who often face high barriers in beginning and growing their careers.
“The partnership between Morris Brown College and Hilton Hotels represents a promising model of employer engagement that both trains students and provides strong connections to immediate job opportunities in a thriving industry,” said Daniel Shoy, Jr., managing director, of Youth Development and Atlanta’s Westside, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in a press release. “We believe this investment in the reinvigorated Morris Brown could be a scalable model for other industries and locations, including Montana State University, where the foundation is funding a similar program, and we invite others to join us in support.”
Morris Brown will begin developing the online platform for the Hospitality Certificate in early 2024, with the first cohort expected to enroll in Fall 2024 and complete the program in Spring 2025.