CRA JA Hospitality Conference

Cooking Up Bright Futures at the SD High School Hospitality Conference

The local hospitality industry is sizzling hot, and hundreds of local high school students are getting the resources they need to pursue careers in the growing culinary and tourism sectors.

Today’s San Diego High School Hospitality Conference brought together more than 500 students and industry professionals at Golden Hall in downtown San Diego. The annual event, now in its 21st year, is designed for students who are currently enrolled in hospitality and culinary programs.

Students from more than a dozen high schools explored various career paths, interacted with top industry professionals and took part in a job fair. There were also interactive tours and chances for students to test their knowledge during a live culinary and hospitality competition.

Helping At-Risk Students Succeed

Besides being a showcase for hospitality careers, the event served up a big dose of inspiration as well.

One of the conference speakers was Brooke Jones, an at-risk student who graduated from Garfield High School’s culinary art program. She ultimately worked her way to becoming kitchen manager at Phil’s BBQ in Santee.

“At the age of 14, I became pregnant with my first child, so I was considered a high-risk student and not expected to finish high school,” she said. “I am hoping my journey from a baker to a kitchen manager will resonate with the kids, because if they work hard, they too can turn their dreams into reality.”

Supporting A Diverse Workforce

Todd Cahill, SDG&E’s director of customer care, also spoke at the event. He talked about the importance of getting students ready for the workforce.

“Building an innovative and diverse workforce is a priority at SDG&E,” he said. “We are committed to empowering students to be college- and career-ready.”

According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, tourism is a key driver of our regional economy, accounting for one in eight local jobs.

We were glad to support today’s conference, alongside our partners: the San Diego Chapter of the California Restaurant Association, San Diego Unified School District and San Diego Hotel-Motel Association.