September 18, 2013

WNC Partnership With Local Hospitality Industry

Hilton Grant to Help Certify Hotel Employees, Job Seekers

A worldwide industry leader known for welcoming and accommodating guests has awarded Western Nevada College and its Carson City business partners a grant to offer hospitality certification workshops.

Hilton Worldwide has allocated a $5,000 Travel and Purpose Action Grant to WNC and key local partners - the Hampton Inn & Suites Carson City, and the Carson Valley Inn, Carson City Chamber of Commerce, and Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce. The grant will help fund a public workshop for American Hotel and Lodging Association certification on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Hampton Inn. Additionally, the Carson Valley Inn will provide a session to its own employees.

“Linda Barnett and the Hampton Inn have been instrumental in attaining the grant from the Hilton Corporation,” said David Steiger, WNC director of Economic Development. “Their efforts, combined with additional contributions from the Carson City Hampton Inn and the Carson Valley Inn, will give the WNC Hospitality Program a great head start.”

WNC and its partners were among 260 applicants for the Hilton Worldwide grant.

Ronni Hannaman, executive director at the Carson City Chamber of Commerce, said the group approached WNC about creating a committee to enhance the local hospitality and tourism industries.

“The hospitality and tourism industry has been to some degree overlooked for a while in the community,” she said. “We believe that the tourism industry could be given a higher priority.”

WNC has been collaborating with local business leaders in the industry to provide training to resort, hotel and restaurant employees. It also aims to offer those seeking jobs the necessary skills and credentialing for employment.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in a hospitality program,” Steiger said. “The participation of the chambers of commerce and industry members is a big plus.”

Linda Barnett, director of operations for Eagle Hospitality & Adventures in Carson City, and the instructor for the public workshop, said there has been a need for training workers in the hospitality industry for some time.

“Over the past few years, despite the high unemployment rate, many businesses realized that there was a lack of trained and qualified hospitality professionals ready to hire,” Barnett said.

The public workshop session will be 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Hampton Inn & Suites. The cost is $39, which includes AH&LA certification.

“For students taking this course, it will help define what ‘hospitality’ is. It may also draw those already working in the industry to get the additional training and certification they need to help them move into management positions,” Barnett said. “Businesses, whether hotel, restaurant, casino or retail, need people with the skills that will be taught in these courses.”

Hannaman said talk of new hotels coming to Carson City should inspire preparedness and create employment opportunities.

“We want to be prepared,” said the chamber’s eight-year executive director. “The hospitality course is not just for the hotel industry; it’s also for workers in the restaurant, retail and rental car industries.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize that there are good careers in the hospitality industry,” Hannaman said. “They are fast-moving and you can make a good living.”

Bill Chernock, executive director of the Carson Valley Chamber, will lead the CVI workshop on October 3, which includes a certification exam for CVI employees.

Additional AH&LA programs, ranging from 40 to 180 hours and including certifications, will be offered.

“We look forward to collaborating with the local hospitality industry to develop a program that meets their needs,” Steiger said.

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For additional information, please contact:
WNC Information and Marketing Services
2201 W. College Parkway
Carson City, NV 89703
Phone: 775-445-3234
Fax: 775-445-3198
E-mail: info_desk@wnc.edu


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