NAU to launch Hospitality Workforce Development Center in Mesa 

Two chefs and a student, all in chef's whites, work in the NAU kitchen.

NAU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management (SHRM) is opening the Mesa Workforce Development Center (MWDC) in Fall 2024. The MWDC will offer high-quality and convenient education and training programs to rebuild and expand the hospitality workforce in Mesa and surrounding communities. 

The MWDC will provide for credit hotel restaurant management and hospitality degree programs as well as noncredit credentials, including shorter and more affordable offerings to address the strong demand for workforce solutions in the hospitality industry. This facility will offer many education options for all levels of experience. 

The decision to locate the MWDC in Mesa was driven by the long-term economic development opportunities in the East Valley and its accessibility to mobility-constrained working professionals and current/future hospitality employees and managers in need of reskilling or upskilling. The center will provide cost-effective education and training solutions that best fit the needs of employees and employers. 

The MWDC’s programs will be housed in a state-of-the-art, two-story building at Skybridge Arizona, a 360-acre long-term commercial development at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The facility will include a training restaurant on the first floor operated by Kind Hospitality and high-tech classrooms, flexible space, food and beverage training labs and office space on the second floor.  

The MWDC is expected to create a pipeline of job and career-ready professionals to support the growth and development of the hospitality industry in Mesa and throughout the Phoenix area.  

“We are excited to offer high-quality hospitality education and training in the East Valley through the Mesa Workforce Development Center,” said Galen Collins, professor in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management and associate dean of The W. A. Franke College of Business. “We look forward to working with our partners to provide the necessary tools and resources for students and working adults to achieve their career goals in this dynamic industry.” 

NAU Communications