Grand Canyon University, City of Phoenix, and Private Sector Uniting to Inspire the Next Cohort of Hospitality Professionals
PHOENIX, Ariz., August 14, 2023–Grand Canyon University (GCU), the City of Phoenix, and the developers of Park Central, Plaza Companies, Holualoa Companies, and hotel operator Fayth Hospitality are joining together to initiate the Park Central Hospitality Training program. The innovative new workforce training program is bringing together a public-private-university partnership to train workers in the hospitality industry.
“Phoenix continues to build on our reputation as a top travel destination, attracting an increasing number of visitors from domestic and international markets,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “This initiative comes at the perfect time as we work to forge new paths for residents to capitalize on rewarding career opportunities, and to meet the needs of this growing industry with a talented workforce.”
GCU’s renowned Hospitality Management program will collaborate with Fayth Hospitality and the City of Phoenix to design a comprehensive curriculum. This initiative will equip aspiring hospitality professionals with essential skills, including technology, guest service, marketing, community ambassadorship, and collaboration with local partners. The work experience for the Hospitality Training Program will occur at the dual-branded Home2 Suites and Tru by Hilton at Park Central.
“This workforce initiative will bring valuable opportunities to our community, empowering aspiring individuals with essential hospitality skills and on-the-job work experience,” said Phoenix City Councilwoman Laura Pastor. “The partnership between Fayth Hospitality, Park Central, GCU, and the City of Phoenix demonstrates a commitment to fostering economic growth and job prospects within my district.”
The program is launching with a $25,000 grant from the Foresight Foundation. The Foresight Foundation’s donation to GCU will support program costs. The program will kick off next year as the construction concludes of the Park Central hotels, as part of the PHOENIX MEDICAL QUARTER.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to help develop the next generation of hospitality workers, create new jobs, and continue to elevate our community,” said Greg Fay, Managing Partner of Fayth Hospitality. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Foresight Foundation for their generous support and invaluable partnership, enabling us to bring this vision to fruition.”
The Park Central hotels will support individuals traveling to the PHOENIX MEDICAL QUARTER for treatment and services at Barrow Neurological Institute, Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, as well as a place for family and friends of Creighton University Health Sciences Campus students and faculty. The hotels will add 207 total guest rooms, spanning five stories and covering 105,000 square feet.
“We are thrilled about this public-private partnership to build new lives for many Arizona workers and their families,” said Dr. Toni Farmer-Thompson, Co-Founder and President/CEO of the Foresight Foundation. “This initiative will benefit Arizona from many perspectives and enable us to properly welcome and serve the many tourists visiting our beautiful state.”
Upon completing the program, participants will gain invaluable firsthand work experience and benefit from job placement assistance. Additionally, the Foresight Foundation will financially support mentorships and leadership skills development for students participating in the program, which is expected to start in 2024.
“We are pleased to expand workforce training opportunities and incorporate hospitality training at the new hotels at Park Central,” said Sharon Harper, Chairman and CEO of Plaza Companies spearheading the Park Central revitalization alongside Holualoa Companies. “This furthers the vision of establishing Park Central as a hub for jobs and economic growth. The hotels will be invaluable assets, catering to Creighton University medical students, faculty, families, business travelers, patients, and families traveling for treatment in the PHOENIX MEDICAL QUARER while enhancing our community’s employment prospects.”
The construction, leisure, and hospitality industries are in the top five of the fastest growing industries in Arizona and will see over 20% increase in employment by 20312. The Park Central Hospitality Training program is one of three workforce programs Plaza Companies is leading. Additional programs are related to construction and property management.
“GCU is intentional with its job-focused curriculum,” said GCU President Brian Mueller. “Partnering with this local hospitality training program supports the University’s commitment to prepare our students to be workforce-ready. Hands-on experience like this ensures our graduates are meeting the needs of today’s industry leaders.”
Plaza Companies and Tucson’s Holualoa Companies have teamed up to redevelop Park Central into a vibrant destination once the city’s first official large-scale shopping mall. The companies have transitioned the expansive space from a retail center nearly 500,000-square-foot bustling community hub ideal for playing, working, congregating, and celebrating the arts.
The new, dual-branded hotels will combine features and perks from both brands. Home2 Suites is a pet-friendly, extended-stay hotel offering complimentary breakfast, in-suite kitchens, and other extended stay amenities. Tru by Hilton, meanwhile, provides an interactive game room, multimedia areas, and a 24/7 market where guests can grab snacks, coffee, and other beverages and light bites. The hotels will share a rooftop pool and ground-floor fitness center.
For questions on Plaza Companies or Park Central contact:
Elizabeth Berry, Plaza Companies
602-758-0628 | Elizabeth.email@example.com
City of Phoenix media contact:
Athena Sanchez, Interim Communications Manager
602-621-0507 | firstname.lastname@example.org
About Plaza Companies
With offices in Peoria, Scottsdale and Tucson, Plaza Companies is a full-service real estate firm specializing in the management, leasing and development of medical office and commercial office properties, technology and bioscience facilities, mixed-use properties and senior housing communities. Since 1982, Plaza Companies has established a proud track record as a competitive, connected and conscientious real estate firm with partnerships throughout the industries it serves. For more information, visit www.theplazaco.com.
About Holualoa Companies
Holualoa Companies is a real estate investment firm focused on the successful acquisition, repositioning, redevelopment and disposition of real estate assets. Headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, with offices in Phoenix, Santa Monica, Hawaii and Paris, its investments span the United States and Europe and include office, retail, industrial, multifamily, hotel and mixed-use investment properties. Holualoa is an experienced investor for its own account and on behalf of a select group of private investors.
About Fayth Hospitality
Helmed by Greg Fay and his partner, Randy Churchey, Fayth Hospitality Group launched in 2018 as a hotel investment company focused on select and compact full-service hotels in popular and emerging markets. In addition to the new Home2 Suites/Tru by Hilton hotel in Phoenix, the company opened a dual-brand Hampton Inn/Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel in downtown Tucson in August 2021.
About Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is Arizona’s premier private Christian university. GCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers 312 academic programs, emphases and certificates for both traditional undergraduate students and working professionals. The University’s curriculum emphasizes interaction with classmates, both in-person and online, and individual attention from instructors while fusing academic rigor with Christian values to help students find their purpose and become skilled, caring professionals.
About Foresight Foundation
Foresight Foundation, an Arizona nonprofit corporation, is driven by a community-based mission to foster economic and community development. Their focus lies in investing in minority-owned enterprises and championing diversity, both socially and financially, to strengthen businesses and communities. With a cumulative experience of over 100 years in community economic development, they are dedicated to enhancing outcomes within underserved and underrepresented communities.
As the 5th largest city in the country and the capital of Arizona, Phoenix is home to 1.7 million residents and is at the top in the market for a well-trained and educated workforce. Phoenix has led the nation in new population growth over the decade and has become a global center of advanced manufacturing, bio, and life sciences, technology, and business and financial services. Phoenix has a modern and expanding transportation and infrastructure network which easily connects businesses and the workforce to a broad range of amenities and quality-of-life options. Ranked in the top 10 for the best city to start a business, companies thrive in Phoenix because of its friendly business environment, and it’s a great place to live. Within the 517 square miles of the city, renowned mountain trails, and three of the largest city parks in the country, Phoenix attracts visitors worldwide. Downtown Phoenix continues to draw major events such as the 2023 Super Bowl, the 2024 NCAA Final Four, and music and food festivals. For more information, visit investinphoenix.com.