Education Foundation

Mission Statement

“To create the opportunity for the citizens of West Virginia to enter and grow in the hospitality industry through education”

The West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association Educational Foundation is a “501c3” charitable organization established in 1999 by visionaries of the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association, leading industry employers, and educators.  The West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association is the umbrella organization for the restaurant, lodging, attractions, convention & visitor bureaus, and travel industry in the state of West Virginia.  The Foundation’s mission is to create the opportunity for the citizens of West Virginia to enter and grow in the hospitality industry through education.  Initially, the Foundation’s primary focus is to build an endowment that will be a sustainable source of scholarship funds for West Virginia residents entering the tourism and hospitality fields.

The WVHTA Education Foundation’s Board of Directors governs and oversees the activities of the Foundation.  These Board members represent all facets of the tourism industry, including lodging, food and beverage operations, attractions, and convention & visitor bureaus.  Additionally, the WV Department of Education is also represented.  All Board members serve on a volunteer basis and meet approximately four times per year. 

WVHTA Educational Foundation is committed to promoting tourism and hospitality as the “Industry of Choice” for young people and those working to advance their careers.  A new wave of hospitality education is sweeping over America.  The industry is mounting a huge effort to recruit young people into high school school-to-career programs to meet the industry’s need for skilled managers.  Instead of just hiring teenagers, hospitality is now reaching out to train and nurture them, and helping them to reach their fullest potential in an industry that offers many rewarding and fulfilling career opportunities. 

The major goal of the WVHTA Education Foundation’s scholarship endowment fund and career mentoring program is to complete the educational pathway already underway in West Virginia. Scholarships are awarded to high school students across the state. WVHTAEF awards scholarships to students seeking post-secondary education in the hospitality and tourism industry.  Applicants must be West Virginia residents to apply, but may be planning to attend out-of-state schools. Currently, the WVHTA EF has created and administers several scholarships:

Scholarship Application Submission Deadline April 1, 2024



2024 Scholarship Questionnaire (For previous Scholarship Recipients)


  • The WVHTAEF Scholarship is open to students who are graduating seniors in a West Virginia high school who meet the following criteria:
    • Have a minimum grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale.
    • Have performed a minimum of 250 hours of Hospitality and Travel industry related work experience
    • Have applied to a hospitality, travel, or recreation management program in a post-secondary institution, either full-time or substantial part-time, with the intent to enroll in a minimum of 2 terms.
  • Students must submit the following materials in order to have a completed application considered:
    • Completed Application
    • Transcript(s)
    • Essay (details in Section 4 of this application)
    • Proof of minimum 250 hours of Hospitality and Travel and Recreation-related work experience.
    • Letter of recommendation(s) on letterhead
    • Copy of college acceptance letter (if available) or copy of college application
  • Previous scholarship award recipients are eligible to reapply after their first year and thereafter. Those recipients must maintain a 2.75 GPA and be majoring in a appropriate field of study. Additionally, in order to reapply, recipients must completely fill out and submit the WVHTA Scholarship Questionnaire and submit that by April 1, 2024.
  • All applicants to the WVHTA scholarships are automatically considered. If you have questions please call Jordan Nuzum at (304) 347-2100.


One of the Educational Foundation’s key partners is the West Virginia Department of Education’s Hospitality Education and Training (HEAT).  The state office of HEAT works with the National Restaurant Association and The American Hotel & Lodging Association.  This partnership has created a nationwide system of high school hospitality courses linked with mentored worksite experiences.  Specifically, the WV HEAT office works with:

Pro-Start® is the nationally accredited two-year, industry-based foodservice management curriculum designed by the National Restaurant Association that develops the culinary and management skills students need to succeed in restaurant and food service careers.

The Lodging Management Program (LMP), designed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s Educational Institute, is a curriculum that provides 11th and 12th grade students with classroom learning and work-based components that prepare them to take advantage of the boundless career opportunities in lodging.

Additionally, WV HEAT developed a state-specific curriculum entitled “Travel West Virginia” (TWV).  This course is designed to provide West Virginia high school students about the importance of tourism in West Virginia and how tourism affects the West Virginia economy.  Instruction integrates differentiated learning, technology, and informational content standards to provide knowledge and understanding of the nine tourism regions of the state. Using West Virginia tourism development strategies that incorporate  the economic, physical, social, and cultural geography of the state, students investigate and explore entrepreneurship, professionalism, and marketing strategies to create career building opportunities within the West Virginia hospitality, travel and tourism industry. Students utilize problem-solving techniques and participate in hands-on activities to develop an understanding of course concepts. TWV is one of the core courses required for the completion of the Hospitality and Tourism pathway available to high school students across the state.  

Other Organizations which offer Scholarships


The industry leaders of today have an obligation to invest in West Virginia’s human capital to develop the industry leaders of tomorrow. 

Because the WVHTA Education Foundation serves all constituencies, without the restriction of membership, our budget must be self-sustaining.  As such, all monies for scholarship funds, endowment funds and operating expenses must be generated through fundraising efforts, including the solicitation of individual and corporate donations, grant writing, proceeds from special events and planned giving programs.

Your donations are greatly needed and sincerely appreciated.  Since the Foundation is a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization, your contributions are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

How else can I contribute?

  • Mentor a Student.  Think about the beginning of your career in hospitality.  Who taught you the skills that helped you get to where you are today?  Was there someone who acted as your mentor?  You now have the opportunity to be a mentor to a high-school or college student and to help him/her get a head start toward an exciting and rewarding career in hospitality.


  • Host a Tour of Your Operation. Allow small groups of students and their teachers to have access to your operation - model a tour after a typical tour that a new employee would have on his/her first day.  Introduce the students to workers and have them explain what they do on a typical business day.  Encourage questions from the students.  Let them see behind-the-scenes activities.


  • Guest Speak. You know what it takes to put a smile on a customer’s face.  You know how to make a business run like a well-oiled machine. Your first-hand knowledge of the hospitality industry is something you should share with both students and their teachers. And a quick 30-minute talk on what employers look for in a new employee could go a long way in developing these students, i.e., future employees.

Coordinate field trips to your vendors’ facilities.  This is just another way to broaden students’ exposure to industry opportunities.

Please contact the WV Department of Education, Office of Hospitality And Training at (304) 558-3896 if you are interested in working directly with students. The following companies and organizations, all WVHTA members, have been named Founding Members of the Education Foundation for their initial contributions of $1,000. These funds, added to grants received from the Hospitality Business Alliance and the West Virginia Department of Education – Office of Hospitality Education And Training, allowed the Foundation to award its first series of scholarships and hire its first staff member. 

The Foundation wishes to thank its Founding Members for their generosity:

  • Best Western McCoys Inn & Conference Center
  • Bright Enterprises
  • Canaan Valley Resorts – Guest Services
  • Class VI River Runners
  • Crown Jewels of West Virginia – B&B’s
  • Fenton Gift Shops, Inc.
  • The Greenbrier
  • Holiday Inn Express – Robert Brown Corporation
  • Laurel Lodge Enterprises, Inc.
  • Martinsburg – Berkeley County CVB
  • Mountain River Tours
  • Mountaineer Racetrack & Gaming Resort
  • Oglebay Resort & Conference Center
  • Snowshoe Mountain, Inc.
  • Southern West Virginia CVB
  • The Woods Resort
  • Tri-State Greyhound Park
  • WV Department of Education – Office of Hospitality And Training
  • Hospitality Business Alliance