Apprenticeship Program provides emerging professionals from BIPOC communities access to careers in the tourism and hospitality industries.

Chicago, IL (September 25, 2023) – While revenues generated by the visitor economy are critical to Chicago’s overall economic vitality, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) talent and leadership remains underrepresented in the local tourism and hospitality industry.

In an effort to lower barriers to accessing careers in the industry, Choose Chicago is proud to collaborate with United Airlines and PCMA on the first Events Track apprenticeship for 2023 – 2024 in partnership with Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM). United Airlines will contribute funding for this Apprenticeship Program and PCMA has committed to full time employment, benefiting one lucky candidate selected to complete this competitive program.

“The future of Chicago’s tourism and hospitality industry depends on connecting promising young talent to fulfilling careers,” said Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of Choose Chicago. “This apprenticeship program is one of the ways that we are working to establish a pipeline of talented young people who want to work in events, hotels, restaurants, or other tourism-adjacent businesses. I encourage all of our partners to invest in workforce development, and lead by example by committing resources to career exploration and internship opportunities.”

“At TDM, we are passionate about creating equitable opportunities for everyone to succeed in their chosen career,” said Greg DeShields, TDM Executive Director. “We are thrilled to partner with Choose Chicago, United Airlines, and PCMA on the apprenticeship program. This program is an important step towards creating a more diverse and inclusive industry.”

The apprentice will gain 600 hours of experience working at Choose Chicago, PCMA and United Airlines, receive a monthly stipend, paid travel expenses, and job placement upon successful completion of the program.

“The PCMA Foundation is passionate about powering the future of the global business events industry,” said Sherrif Karamat, CAE, PCMA and CEMA President and CEO. “Providing a future leader with access to the amazing teams and experiences at Choose Chicago, PCMA and United Airlines is the foundation for a journey full of possibilities and transformation with access and exposure to this wonderful industry.”

As a global airline focused on connecting people, United works to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture to reflect the communities in which they work, live and fly–whether in Chicago or around the world.

“We’re proud to partner with Choose Chicago again this year and support their EDI Apprenticeship Program to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace,” says Glenn Hollister, Vice President, Sales Strategy and Effectiveness at United Airlines. “This collaboration is just one example of how we take action to build equitable access to careers in aviation.”

The apprentice will receive invaluable experience planning a large scale event and also be exposed to local stakeholders, clients and community partners.

“I’m glad to see this partnership with United Airlines and PCMA continue after a successful launch last year,” said Glenn Eden, Chairman of the Choose Chicago Board of Directors. “I hope that programs like this will help to bring about a future where the diversity of Chicago’s communities is authentically reflected in the leadership of our local hospitality industry.”

For more information and to learn how to apply for the Apprenticeship Program visit:

About Choose Chicago 

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit Follow @ChooseChicago on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About United Airlines 

At United, Good Leads The Way. With U.S. hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., United operates the most comprehensive global route network among North American carriers, and is now the largest airline in the world as measured by available seat miles. For more about how to join the United team, please visit and more information about the company is at United Airlines Holdings, Inc., the parent company of United Airlines, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol “UAL”.

About Tourism Diversity Matters 

Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM) is a 501(c)(6) founded in 2021 to empower tourism organizations to evolve and achieve excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Dedicated solely to all dimensions of DEI, TDM drives organizations forward through four primary pillars of activity: Apprenticeships, Workforce Development, Diversity Equity and Inclusion Strategies, and Research and Data. TDM collaborates with renowned academic institutions and industry partners to address workforce disparities and ensure tourism organizations have equitable access to forward-thinking research and educational resources. Through exceptional expertise and leading DEI strategies, TDM’s highly customized work guides organizations to fuel innovation, grow their business and become an employer of choice. Learn more at

Media Contacts

Isaac Reichman: [email protected]

Stephen Crano: [email protected]

For media queries from the Americas, APAC, EMEA, and requests for interviews with Sherrif Karamat, please contact: Meghan Risch, PCMA Chief of Staff, Vice President, Corporate Communications

About PCMA

PCMA, PCMA Foundation and CEMA educate, inspire, and listen, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together. We are the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists, providing senior-level education, networking, and market intelligence for the global business events industry. Our mission is to drive social and economic progress through business events. Headquartered in Chicago, IL PCMA has 17 North American Chapters, regional communities in APAC, EMEA and LATAM, and members in 59 countries. The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA), a PCMA subsidiary, advances strategic event marketing and marketing communications for senior-level event marketers and industry professionals. Visit us at

About PCMA Foundation

The role of the Foundation of PCMA is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant-giving focused on scholarships, education and research that will advance the business events industry. Annually the Foundation funds over $700K in impact, and since 1985 has funded over 2,500 scholarships, 100 research studies and education programs, and $2.7M in charitable giving.

About CEMA

The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) is the eminent community for senior event executives, association peers and industry partners and is an integral component of the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) brand collective. CEMA promotes professional networking opportunities, facilitates peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and drives industry standards. Through strong relationships with strategic partners, CEMA fosters both finding innovative solutions to business issues and continuous focus on members’ career growth. For more information, please visit

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