Orlando North, Seminole County Launches Grand Outreach Program with Grand Tour Foundation and IMPOWER
~New program will help homeless and foster youth achieve a career in the hospitality industry~
ORLANDO – Orlando North, Seminole County, today announced the launch of the Grand Outreach Program for young adults in foster care, in partnership with the Grand Tour Foundation, a non-profit organization which provides educational programs to students pursuing careers in the hospitality and tourism industries, and IMPOWER, a leading non-profit mental health and child well-being organization dedicated to empowering the lives of those in need.
The Grand Outreach Program helps Central Florida’s young adults participating in independent living programs prepare for a full-time job in Florida’s flourishing hospitality industry through training and mentorship.
“Central Florida is the center for hospitality with dozens of theme parks, hotels, restaurants and attractions, and Florida boasts more than 1.4 million tourism-related jobs,” said Gui Cunha, Tourism Manager for Orlando North Seminole County Tourism. “We are proud to partner with the Grand Tour Foundation and IMPOWER to help these disadvantaged young adults start a career in the hospitality industry, which can lead to life-long success.”
“There are no shortage of opportunities in the hospitality industry. Many hotel general managers started off as bellhops and worked their way to the top,” added Rosangela Parker, Travel Trade Representative for Orlando North Seminole County Tourism.
The six-week program provides an introduction into customer service, front-of-house service, food preparation, etiquette and interview preparation. Once completed with the course, participants will have a resume, certificate of completion and a network of industry professionals to provide mentorship.
“Only about 50% of youth in the foster care system graduate from high school, which often leaves them at a significant disadvantage once they leave or age out. This program gives these young adults and other homeless youth the tools they need to reach their full potential and to obtain a successful career,” said Marcie Dearth, Vice President of External Relations for IMPOWER.
Open to those ages 18-24 at risk of homelessness or with a foster care history, the cost-free course will occur three times per year, during the fall, spring, and summer. This allows participants to be ready for hire during the peak tourism seasons.
The program will also guide the individuals through the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association certification course for additional training.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged young adults, and we are honored to provide resources and education for this new program,” said Dr. Mary Jo Ross, Executive Director of the Grand Tour Foundation and retired Professor at the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management. “Central Florida has a wonderful hospitality community, and we are excited to provide program participants with the training needed to work in the industry.”
Orlando North, Seminole County is the destination marketing organization for Seminole County, FL. For more information, please visit
IMPOWER is a leading non-profit mental health and child well-being organization dedicated to empowering the lives of those in need. For more information, please visit
The Grand Tour Foundation is a non-profit organization purposed to provide educational programs to students pursuing careers in the hospitality and tourism industries. For more information, please visit