Orlando Program Helps Get Students On the Road to Hospitality
7/2/2012 | Hotel Ruminating
Maybe it’s not just all politics that is local? Perhaps finding and building the future workforce of the hotel industry is an endeavor that has its roots in localized efforts. Today, The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI) announced it is one of several organizations joining forces to launch a new workforce development program designed to prepare workers for jobs in Orlando-area hotels.
While the unemployment in this country still remains high, HR directors in hospitality are still having a hard time finding the right people for the right jobs in the industry. But soon, 25 Orlando-area students will be ready to fill roles in the industry thanks to the “Career On-Ramp to Hospitality,” which begins today at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. The students 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. According to a press release from EI, human resource directors from several Orlando-area hotels are supporting the program, which has been funded with a workforce grant from Orange County, Fla.
“It’s very exciting that all of these different entities are coming together to serve members of our community who are seeking employment,” Dorathy Nevitt, director of human resources, Orlando World Center Marriott, said in the press release. 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.
Nevitt went on to say, “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.”
The program works like this: 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.
The 25 students selected for the inaugural session have been carefully screened to have a strong likelihood of success in a hospitality career, in particular, a strong sense of service, according to the press release. 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,” Marc Stanakis, president of the Jobs Partnership of Florida, said in the release. “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.
“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.”
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