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Four Furloughed Hotel Employees in Orlando Receive Full-Ride Scholarships to Valencia College

Photo: Gabrielle Henderson

The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation presented four furloughed Orlando hotel employees with full-ride scholarships to Valencia College. 

One of the recipients Jordon Cooper was laid off from the Hyatt in March. He’s had to take other jobs to make ends meet while applying for unemployment assistance.

Cooper says starting classes this week in a restaurant management degree program has given him new hope. 

“Anybody and everybody knows how to cook. Even if it’s ramen noodles to hot dogs, to hot dogs to burgers, burgers to beignets. Everybody knows how to cook. But it’s what you learn about the business side of it that makes a difference.”

He says he’ll use these skills along with the ones he gained in Second Harvest’s Culinary Training program to eventually open his own restaurant. 

Second Harvest’s Nancy Brumbaugh says the program covers all the costs of the degree.  

“So they’re going to pay for housing, transportation, food. They’re going to supply the students with a computer and additional support while they get their associate degree. And this associate degree can be in anything from marketing, finance, hotel management or a culinary field.”

Some four million hotel employees are still furloughed across the country. 

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »