The Marriott China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI) is a charitable program of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. The initiative’s purpose is to enhance hospitality education, leading to rewarding careers for the next generation of China hospitality leaders. Developed in partnership with San Diego State University, this multi-faceted program enables Chinese educators and students to gain knowledge and real-world experiences in hospitality operations.
CHEI’s vision is to create world-class hospitality education that leads to life-changing careers for youth in China. CHEI’s mission is to prepare youth in China for rewarding careers in the hospitality industry by enhancing educational resources, offering real-world operational experiences, and engaging a community of inspired educators.
In November 2012, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation committed funding for a five-year period to support China’s youth through the Marriott China Hospitality Initiative (CHEI) and a portfolio of programs. The initiative reflects the Marriott family’s ongoing efforts to help young people fulfill their potential and realize their ambitions.
CHEI is unique in several ways. It is a charitable initiative with a focus on universities and vocational schools in secondary and tertiary cites across China. CHEI offers a portfolio of programs that focus first on faculty members, exposing teachers and their students to real-life hospitality operations and experiences. Unique and China-centric Hospitality English curriculum was developed and is available to teachers in China, along with many other teaching tools and resources.
CHEI’s operational team is based in China. Additionally, CHEI has engaged two initial advisors to help guide this initiative:
San Diego State University (SDSU) was selected as CHEI’s initial academic advisor. Through its L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, SDSU has experience working with Chinese schools and the hospitality industry to develop programs that are globally respected and uniquely Chinese. For more information about SDSU, visit www.sdsu.edu/htm.
Marriott International has volunteered its services to help ensure that CHEI programs are relevant to industry needs. Marriott will also participate in faculty internship, guest lecture, and field trip programs for Chinese students and faculty. For more information about Marriott International, visit www.marriott.com.
CHEI offers an originally designed, China-centric portfolio of resources and practical experiences to enhance hospitality education and help students and educators understand the vast career opportunities. Schools may take advantage of all program offerings, just one individual program, or a combination of several programs—whatever meets their needs. Program options include: Faculty Internships, Guest Lectures, Field Trips, Teaching-Learning Resources, Regional Teaching Forums, Annual Teaching Conference, School Visiting and International CHEI Fellows. Please visit the “Programs” section of this website for more information.
Universities and vocational schools that have comprehensive hospitality & tourism programs may be considered to become CHEI schools. Each interested school will be considered based on a number of factors, such as the ability to offer CHEI programs to faculty and students and provide feedback to the CHEI program director.
China’s travel and tourism industry is booming and presenting more employment opportunities for Chinese youth. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, of the 70 million new jobs that travel and tourism will stimulate globally by 2023, two-thirds—about 47 million—will be in Asia.
While the opportunities are abundant, the industry is often poorly understood. Many students and their families are unaware of the range of opportunities, such as career growth, salary progression, travel and adventure. Additionally, most hospitality educators and students have little exposure to real-world hospitality operations and/or do not know much about the skills required or the actual roles available. CHEI has a tremendous opportunity to build awareness and visibility of hospitality careers and help prepare Chinese youth by connecting universities and vocational schools to the business community.
The Foundation is dedicated to helping youth secure a promising future, especially through secondary and higher education, mentoring, and youth leadership programs. This devotion is deeply rooted in the Marriott family’s history. Marriott International’s founder, J. Willard Marriott, grew up tending sheep and cattle on his father’s farm in Utah, and he never graduated from high school. He thought this would prevent him from realizing his ambitions—until a teacher at nearby Weber State College unexpectedly lent a helping hand. The teacher not only ensured that J. Willard got admitted to Weber State, but helped him find jobs on campus to pay for the tuition. Not long after graduation, J. Willard used his business skills education to launch an entrepreneurial career. For the rest of his life, he said that his world-renowned hospitality company would never have been possible without the caring and assistance of that teacher at Weber State. The Foundation continues to draw inspiration from his experience, and seeks to pass on the gift of a future with possibilities to young people around the world.
No. Marriott International is providing expert guidance but will not have any special access to CHEI students as an employer. The most critical business opportunity is for the students themselves, since the initiative will enable them to develop critical skills for careers in the hospitality industry. The education and experience they will gain through CHEI makes these students attractive to numerous hospitality and tourism companies operating in China. No one company will have an advantage. Marriott International may hire young people who have been involved with the CHEI program, but they would be among many other hospitality companies that do so.