The not-for-profit (501)(c)(3) Arkansas Hospitality Education Foundation (HEF) helps to provide support and scholarships for tomorrow’s hospitality leaders. Students are beginning career exploration earlier than ever before. Every year, the Foundation offers a number of scholarships to deserving hospitality students around the state. Funding for the scholarships comes from special gifts to the Arkansas Tourism and Hospitality Education Foundation, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the generous contributions from industry members and families through the auction at the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism. To date, $527,150 in scholarships has been awarded since 1999.
The hospitality industry is one of dynamic growth potential, with over 200 industry careers available in a number of different disciplines. The travel and tourism industry directly employs more than 7.4 million individuals in the United States, and more than 221 million worldwide. In the United States, travel and tourism is the first, second, or third largest employer in 30 of the 50 states. For many young, seasonal employees, a job in hospitality offers the first meaningful employment experience with competitive income. Expanding its employment base by 119,000 over the past year, the travel and tourism industry accounted for twice as many jobs as created by the construction and real estate industries combined. Between its 7.4 million employees, $188 billion in wages, and $759 billion in sales, the travel industry is leading a recovery focused on job creation and positive gains for the economy.