Press Releases

San Diego Hospitality Industry Will Open its Doors to Host 400 High School Students at the 19th Annual Hospitality Conference & Career Fair

February 28, 2017

SAN DIEGO —  San Diego’s hospitality industry will open its doors to host 400 high school students for the 19th Annual Hospitality Conference and Career Fair on Thursday, Feb. 16.    The conference will be held at Golden Hall, located at 202 C Street, San Diego from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. (PST)

The event is designed to prepare and inspire students, who are currently enrolled in hospitality and culinary programs, for future career success in one of San Diego’s fastest growing sectors. During the day, students will explore various careers paths, interact with top industry professionals and fill out applications to secure summer job opportunities.     Employment in the hospitality and tourism sector is projected to create 210,000 new jobs in California by 2017, according to Economic & Workforce Development, California Community Colleges.

The conference is sponsored and organized by San Diego County Chapter- California Restaurant Association , SDG&E, San Diego Unified School District, and San Diego Hotel- Motel Association with the support of L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality at San Diego State University.

WHAT:                        High School Hospitality Conference and Career Fair

WHEN:                         Thursday, February 16, 2017

TIME:                           8am to 1pm                      

WHERE:                       Golden Hall, 202 C Street, San Diego, CA


  • Matthew Caponi, President, San Diego Chapter- California Restaurant Association
  • Luis Barrios, General Manager, Hilton San Diego Airport at Harbor Island
  • Al Love, Director of College, Career & Technical Education, San Diego Unified 
  • Emily Rodriquez, Future Restaurant Owner & Mesa College Student   
  • Claudia Sandoval, Guest Speaker and Celebrity Chef
  • Kristi Zimsky, Junior Achievement of San Diego


Students & Special Guest Speaker

Students & Special Guest Speaker Students from ALBA, Hilltop, Hoover, Garfield, Granite Hills, e3 Civic, IDEA Center, Madison, Mira Mesa, Morse, Mount Miguel, San Diego, San Diego Center for Children and San Diego Job Corp will participate in the one- day job shadow initiative. The event will kick-off with inspirational guest speaker, Claudia Sandoval, the winner of reality TV cooking competition MasterChef. Then students will break into groups for a “behind-the-scenes” tour at the following hotels, restaurants and local hot spots:


Participating Hotels, Restaurants, & Tourism Hot Spots 

Coronado Island Marriott, Donovan’s Steak & Chop House, Grand Hyatt, Hilton Harbor Island, Hilton San Diego Gaslamp, Hotel Del Coronado, Hornblower Cruises & Events, Il Fornaio, Lou & Mickey’s, Marriott Gaslamp Quarter, Marriott Marquis San Diego, Miguel’s Cocina, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Cheesecake Factory, The Fish Market, Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, USS Midway and Water Grill.


Career Fair

Students will also visit the Career Fair to interview and fill out job applications for summer employment with some of San Diego’s top hospitality and tourism companies.  The students will have a chance to visit with local universities and colleges to learn more about educational paths in the dynamic and fast-growing industry.  


Junior Achievement (JA), a nonprofit that teaches students how to get a job, start a business and manage their money, will also be a part of the Career Fair. The JA team will bring the JA Career Success curriculum to help students learn valuable skills to find their dream job, including resume and cover letter tips and perfecting their interviewing techniques.


“The Conference opens student minds to a future in the hospitality industry.  They learn they can be general managers, executive chefs but also lawyers, architects, engineers and marketing professionals.” -  Luis Barrios, General Manager, Hilton San Diego Airport at Harbor Island

“Building an innovative and diverse workforce is a priority at SDG&E.  As a lead sponsor, we are committed to empowering students to be college and career ready. ” - Scott Crider, Vice President, Customer Services, San Diego Gas & Electric

“We are so grateful to all of the wonderful corporations and business partners who will open their doors to our students and share their career success stories and experiences.   These students are the next generation of hospitality’s leaders and it’s important to invest in them now.” - Matthew Caponi, President, San Diego Chapter, California Restaurant Association

“Students walk away feeling inspired.  They start talking about their passions, goals and future steps they are going to take to ensure they become tomorrow’s leaders in this growing and important sector in the San Diego economy.” - Al Love, Director of College, Career & Technical Education, San Diego Unified   

“The conference really opened my eyes to the various career opportunities in the hospitality industry. I learned what it takes to be an executive chef of a fine dining bistro to an event manager of a giant cruise ship. It inspired me to work hard and save money to open my own restaurant in San Diego someday." - Emily Rodriguez, Future Restaurant Owner & Mesa College Student

“We hope the high schools students will learn about the transformational career paths that exist in the hospitality industry. The industry is terribly misunderstood and perceived as low wage only. In fact, our students earn good wages while in school and when they graduate.” - Carl Winston, Director at L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality, San Diego State University. 





Kristi Zimsky

PR Manager                           

Junior Achievement                                                                          

(619) 682-5155