Blackstone and Hilton Worldwide Partner with Department of Veterans Affairs and Kendall College to Offer Hospitality Education Programs to Veterans

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New York, August 26, 2014. Global asset manager Blackstone (NYSE:BX), in partnership with its portfolio company Hilton Worldwide, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and Kendall College in Chicago, are proud to announce the launch of a first-of-its-kind hospitality education program designed to help veterans and their spouses receive the experience and knowledge that can lead to a meaningful career in hospitality management. The announcement was made in conjunction with President Obama’s speech to the American Legion Convention today.

This educational program offers enrollment in courses at Kendall College’s School of Hospitality Management, the cost of which can be covered by GI Bill funds, and a six-month internship at a Hilton Worldwide property. Students who successfully complete the necessary coursework and internship will receive a Certification of Completion, college credit toward a degree and experience that positions them to transition into full-time employment with Hilton or other hospitality companies. The program is being offered in coordination with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

In April 2013, in support of the White House’s “Joining Forces” initiative, Blackstone committed to hiring 50,000 American veterans across its portfolio over five years. In May 2014, Blackstone announced that it had already hired more than 10,000 veterans since making that pledge. As part of Blackstone’s Veterans Hiring Initiative, each September, the firm hosts a summit to support the hiring of American veterans across its portfolio companies. At the summit, hiring executives and government officials work together to plan the continued fulfillment of this pledge. To learn more about Blackstone’s Veterans Hiring Initiative, please visit http://blackstone.com/careers/veterans-initiative.

“We are proud to help launch an important pilot program that will assist veterans in their transition to new careers following their military service,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone. “Veterans have exceptional skills and talents that are highly attractive to employers, and we have seen a terrific response on the part of our portfolio companies to follow through and create real employment opportunities for the men and women of the United States Military. This program will help veterans apply their skills in new ways, offer the opportunity to train with a world leading hospitality company and access available jobs. We continue to proudly support the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative and applaud the Administration’s leadership in supporting our nation’s veterans.”

Coinciding with Blackstone’s Veterans Hiring Initiative, Hilton Worldwide launched its “Operation: Opportunity” initiative, including innovative public-private partnerships and a commitment to hire 10,000 veterans within five years.  Working with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), the company is donating millions of Hilton HHonors points that veterans can redeem for free hotel stays while seeking jobs, both within and outside the company. It is also implementing veteran apprentice programs, on-the-job training and management development programs with the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. Hilton Worldwide has been recognized as one of the “Top Ten Companies for Veterans” by DiversityInc and one of the “Top Military Friendly Employers” by GI Jobs.

“At Hilton Worldwide, we are strongly committed to supporting our veterans and their families. For nearly a century now, we have proudly welcomed veterans to our company, and many of our best leaders served in the military before joining us, including our founder Conrad Hilton who was a U.S. Army veteran,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton Worldwide. “The hospitality industry requires many of the same skill sets as the military since both are 24/7 operations that require a high degree of professionalism and expertise across many different job functions. As the fastest growing and largest hospitality company by rooms in the world, we offer extensive opportunities to advance over time, and the 10,000 veterans and military spouses joining our team will be integral to our future success.”

"Blackstone and Hilton have really demonstrated what it means to be Veteran-committed employers. I encourage other employers to follow their lead and develop innovative programs that effectively utilize GI Bill® benefits to provide training that supports meaningful employment for Veterans, Transitioning Service members, and their families," said Rosye Cloud, Senior Advisor for Veteran Employment at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Kendall College is committed to providing veterans opportunities in the hospitality and culinary fields,” said Emily Williams Knight, President of Kendall College. “We are proud to be working alongside both Hilton and the Veterans Administration to achieve this goal. This unique educational program affords veterans the opportunity to take coursework from the number one hospitality school in Chicago, while at the same time, gaining practical experience through a six-month internship with a world class hospitality brand. Having a pathway to a career in the hospitality industry from the moment they enter the  program, will give them a goal to work towards, and will help to keep them on track. As the daughter of two Navy veterans and a former military spouse, I understand the benefits this program will bring the veteran community and their families.” 

About Blackstone

Blackstone is one of the world’s leading investment firms. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work. We do this by using extraordinary people and flexible capital to help companies solve problems. Our asset management businesses, with almost $300 billion in assets under management, include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, non-investment grade credit, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global basis. Blackstone also provides various financial advisory services, including financial and strategic advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund placement services. Further information is available at www.blackstone.com. Follow Blackstone on Twitter .

About Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxury and full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and focused-service hotels. For 95 years, Hilton Worldwide has been dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences. The company's portfolio of eleven world-class global brands is comprised of more than 4,200 managed, franchised, owned and leased hotels and timeshare properties, with more than 690,000 rooms in 93 countries and territories, including Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton HHonors®. Visit news.hiltonworldwide.com for more information and connect with Hilton Worldwide at , , www.youtube.com/hiltonworldwidewww.flickr.com/hiltonworldwide andwww.linkedin.com/company/hilton-worldwide.

About Kendall College

Kendall College, founded in 1934, is located in Chicago, Ill., and is a member of the Laureate International Universities network. Kendall offers undergraduate degrees in culinary arts, hospitality management, business and early childhood education to a diverse and passionate community of more than 1,800 students. The curriculum combines strong academics with practical experience and international educational opportunities to give students in business, hospitality and culinary arts programs the skills and expertise to be leaders in their professions. Kendall College was ranked the No. 1 program in Chicago for preparing students for careers in hospitality management and culinary arts in a survey of management at Chicago’s leading hotels and Michelin Guide restaurants (TNS Global - 2013 Survey). Kendall College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), www.ncahlc.org; 1-312-263-0456. For more information about this training program, please call 888-705-3632.

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