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High Growth Industry Profile

Industry Snapshots

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006-07 Career Guide to Industries)

  • Between 2004 and 2014, the Hospitality industry is expected to add 17 percent in wage and salary employment. Within the industry, wage and salary jobs in food services and drinking places are expected to increase by 16 percent between 2004-14, compared to 14 percent growth projected for wage and salary employment in all industries combined.
  • Food services and drinking places provided many young people with their first jobs in 2004 - more than 21 percent of workers in these establishments were aged 16 to 19, about 5 times the proportion for all industries.
  • The accommodation and food services sector makes up approximately 8 percent of all employment nationally (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industry at a Glance). Two out of five workers in the industry are part-time - more than twice the proportion for all industries.
Workforce Issues

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006-07 Career Guide to Industries)

Image and Outreach

  • Like other service sectors, hospitality careers are often stereotyped as low-wage and entry-level with little opportunity for advancement. Consequently, qualified workers, especially youth, are unaware of the range of hospitality careers available.

Recruitment and Retention

  • With the hospitality industry's growth rate increasing, the importance of finding good employees, especially youth workers, is a high priority. Historically, the hospitality industry has drawn heavily from the youth labor pool to meet their workforce needs, but in recent years the industry has been left with an insufficient pipeline of new workers to satisfy demand. Faced with a shrinking pipeline of workers, the hospitality industry is increasing its recruitment efforts towards youth and developing targeted strategies for previously untapped labor pools.

High turnover is a key challenge in the hospitality industry. The restaurant, hotel and lodging sectors have difficulty retaining skilled workers because of the negative image that the industry faces.

Training and Skill Needs

  • Employers have difficulty finding workers who possess basic "soft skills," which are often a prerequisite for success in a customer service-oriented field. English proficiency is a key challenge because a large percentage of the hospitality workforce does not speak English as their primary language. Employers seek language training programs that allow workers to effectively perform their job, which includes providing quality customer service and understanding safety requirements.
  • The hospitality industry as a whole lacks consistency and portability in training models and skill certifications. Many employers provide internal training programs for entry-level workers, which makes it difficult to monitor the content of training and the skills acquired.
Skill Sets

(Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006-07 Career Guide to Industries and 2006-07 Occupational Outlook Handbook)

  • The diverse range of activities offered by this industry provides excellent job opportunities for people with varied skills and educational backgrounds. Jobs will be plentiful for first-time job seekers, senior citizens and those seeking part-time or alternative work schedules.
  • Training for food service managers is available through industry-sponsored seminars; short-term, subject-specific certificate programs; or associate and bachelor's degree programs in management.
  • A certification in hospitality management can be obtained through an 18-month training course or a four-year specialized bachelor's degree.
ETA in Action

In June 2003, ETA announced the High Growth Job Training Initiative to engage businesses with local education providers and the local/regional workforce investment system to find solutions that address changing talent development needs in various industries.

In October 2005, the Community-Based Job Training Grants were announced to improve the role of community colleges in providing affordable, flexible and accessible education for the nation's workforce.

ETA is investing more than $260 million in 26 different regions across the United States in support of the WIRED (Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development) Initiative. Through WIRED, local leaders design and implement strategic approaches to regional economic development and job growth. WIRED focuses on catalyzing the creation of high skill, high wage opportunities for American workers through an integrated approach to economic and talent development.

These initiatives reinforce ETA's commitment to transform the workforce system by engaging business, education, state and local governments and other federal agencies with the goal of creating a skilled workforce to meet the dynamic needs of today's economy.


ETA has invested $5,979,531 in the hospitality industry. This includes four High Growth Job Training Initiative grants totaling $4,358,544 and one Community-Based Job Training Grants totaling $1,620,987. Leveraged resources from all of the grantees total $8,780,912.


For additional background information about the industry and details on the grants, information about employment and training opportunities and workforce development tools for employers, educators and workforce professionals, please visit:,, and