Educational Institute to Launch New Workforce Program

Orlando, Florida (USA) – 4 July 2012 — The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI) is one of several organizations joining forces to launch a new workforce development program designed to prepare workers for jobs in Orlando-area hotels.

The “Career On-Ramp to Hospitality” begins today at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management with a class of 25 students who are all graduates of the Jobs Partnership of Florida’s “Life and Work” program. For the next six weeks, they will learn hospitality basics using EI’s Skills, Tasks, And Results Training (START) curriculum and will receive one-on-one mentoring from members of the Rosen Alumni Association. Human resource directors from several area hotels are supporting the program, which has been funded with a workforce grant from Orange County.

“It’s very exciting that all of these different entities are coming together to serve members of our community who are seeking employment,” said Dorathy Nevitt, director of human resources, Orlando World Center Marriott. Nevitt, a long-time volunteer with the Jobs Partnership of Florida, is coordinating the mentorship component of the program and working with area hotel human resources departments to arrange job interviews for the program’s graduates.

“Even with high unemployment, HR directors are still having a hard time finding the right people to fill skilled jobs in hospitality,” Nevitt explained. “We need to prepare people, to give them a leg up so that they have some basic skills to bring to the table. We hope this new program will provide these students with the qualities employers are looking for, so they can succeed in finding a job.”

Students will attend the “Career On-Ramp to Hospitality” five days a week for six weeks. Classes will be taught by Michael “Doc” Terry from UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management and Amy Lein, former human resource director for Cirque du Soleil and a Jobs Partnership leader and instructor. In addition to classroom instruction, students will take field trips, tour hotels, practice skills on-site at various properties, and hear local hospitality guest speakers. Mentors will help participants by answering questions, navigating the world of hospitality, and “telling it like it is,” said Nevitt.

Marc Stanakis, president of the Jobs Partnership of Florida, explained that the 25 students selected for the inaugural session of the “Career On-ramp to Hospitality” have been carefully screened to have a strong likelihood of success in a hospitality career, in particular, a strong sense of service. They have already demonstrated success in completing the Jobs Partnership’s 12-week Life and Work program, which focuses on soft skills like attitude, communication, and integrity, and employability skills including résumé writing, interviewing, time management, and putting others’ needs first.

“The big idea is that we can give them a one-two punch,” said Stanakis. “The soft skills and employability skills prepare them for work, while EI’s START curriculum provides the hospitality overview and technical skills to prepare them for a career in hospitality.”

He added, “Hospitality is the big job creator in Central Florida and our goal is to build a pipeline of skilled and motivated workers that will serve the industry and our visitors well so they keep coming back!”

For information on EI’s workforce training programs, contact Shelly Weir, senior director, state relations & educational programs, at 407-999-8166 or sweir@ahla.com.

About the Educational Institute
Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute’s mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Johnson
Senior Public Relations & Marketing Manager
517-318-2359
ejohnson@ahla.com
www.ahlei.org

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