Giving Back: Visit Anaheim and ASM Global Launch and Expand Next Generation Workforce Initiatives

February 15, 2024

A destination marketing organization (DMO) and global venue management company kicked off the new year on a positive note by launching and expanding programs designed to inspire, grow and support the next generation of hospitality, tourism and live event industry professionals.

Visit Anaheim 

Visit Anaheim, the official DMO for Anaheim, Calif., launched a new program designed to develop the future tourism and hospitality workforce. Unveiled on Feb. 6, the DMO’s Workforce Development initiative was created to inspire local high school students to pursue careers in tourism and hospitality.

As part of this new program, local business leaders from the tourism industry – hotels, event venues, transportation companies and Visit Anaheim ­– will volunteer to speak at 15 Anaheim and Garden Grove high schools to share their individual career path stories with students, while students will have an opportunity to network with industry professionals, participate in career fairs and access educational resources, internships and job opportunities, according to Visit Anaheim officials.

“By fostering connections and providing guidance, Workforce Development is bridging the gap between our industry and our community,” said Christina Dawson, Visit Anaheim senior vice president, operations. “This program will inspire students to pursue careers within the tourism and hospitality field while cultivating a skilled and diverse future workforce.”

This program couldn’t be more needed in Orange County, where tourism generates more than 164,000 jobs each year, according to Visit Anaheim officials. From hotel management to transportation maintenance to event planning, Workforce Development will help fill the workforce pipeline for the tourism and hospitality industry. 

In keeping with its support of the next generation workforce, Visit Anaheim also recently announced a two-year commitment to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire (BBBS) Workplace Mentoring program. Focused on college and career readiness, the program offers high school students a jumpstart in their professional development with exposure to major corporations and one-on-one time with accomplished mentors.

Visit Anaheim BBBS mentors and mentees
Visit Anaheim BBBS mentors and mentees

Once a month, 14 students from Katella High School will visit the Visit Anaheim office to receive one-on-one career mentoring from staff and participate in collaborative group activities, with Big Brothers Big Sisters providing after-school student transportation and facilitating each session.

According to Visit Anaheim officials, students will have an opportunity to explore career possibilities, discover academic pathways, build relationships with mentors who are skilled professionals in the tourism and hospitality field and make valuable professional connections for the future.

“With over 63,000 tourism jobs in Anaheim across the convention center, theme parks, restaurants, shops and hotels, Visit Anaheim is enthusiastic about getting young professionals interested in career opportunities within our industry,” said Dawson.

ASM Global

As part of its rapidly growing ASM Global Acts worldwide sustainability and equity program, ASM Global is expanding its U.S. college scholarship program and a global university student program, which is designed to attract fresh talent and provide internship and career opportunities for the live entertainment industry’s next-generation workforce.


Created to provide accessible pathways for students to pursue their education and career goals, and funded by the ASM Global Acts Foundation, ASM Global Stars Scholarship gives students in under-resourced communities across the U.S. educational and career development opportunities. In 2023, the program awarded 50 scholarships valued at $125,000 (up from 28 and $70,000 in 2022) to students in 39 cities (up from 14 in 2022), according to ASM Global officials.

Administered by Scholarship America, with awards based on student GPA, diversity and need, the 2024 scholarship campaign is expected to open by early March, according to ASM Global officials.

Focused on cultivating similar experiences worldwide, the new GROW university student program was launched last fall to provide ASM Global’s venue portfolio with the necessary resources to create internship programs and meaningful work experiences for university students pursuing careers in live entertainment.

Currently, GROW career experiences are available in marketing, operations, event management, human resources, finance, IT, sales, procurement, guest service, security and food and beverage.

“GROW is an acronym for gathering knowledge, realizing your potential, opportunities awaiting and engaging in work that matters,” said Ron Bension, president and CEO, ASM Global. “We intend to deliver all of that and more to students who want to be a part of the next generation of leaders in one of the world’s most exciting and fulfilling careers: live entertainment.”

In 2023, GROW hosted more than 100 university students around the globe and expects to grow that number significantly in 2024, fulfilling the goal of ASM Global Acts to provide job opportunities, experienced networks, purposeful work and entry opportunities in the live entertainment business throughout the globe, according to ASM Global officials.

“We’re committed to curating introductory opportunities and exposure in the universe of venue management throughout our business units internationally,” said Shauna Elvin, ASM Global chief human resources officer. “Through engaging hands-on opportunities, students from diverse backgrounds will develop business acumen, grow their professional network and meaningfully contribute to the organization and brand’s growth.”

Update: On Feb. 22, ASM Global announced that it is doubling the number of scholarships it will award this year, from 50 in 2023 to 100 in 2024. Applications are open now, and the deadline to apply is March 25. To apply, go here.

“ASM Global is committed to expanding opportunities for students from all backgrounds to help them become the next generation of leaders in the live entertainment business,” Elvin said. “Doubling the number of scholarships is a key component of that goal. Creating these openings to education in turn builds routes to both employment and career advancement.”

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