Updated: AUGUST 18, 2017 — 2:56 PM EDT
Damon Roundtree, 18, carefully removed charred skin from a roasted red pepper, slicing it into narrow strips.
That one simple act had ramifications well beyond embellishing a sandwich, which looked delicious: job readiness; opportunities for underemployed city minorities; union growth; union relevance; schools serving communities; employer savings on training; plus a crew of cooks, servers, bartenders, and dishwashers ready to work at a new Philadelphia International Airport restaurant.
Lots loaded onto that sandwich.
“To me, it’s a new start,” Roundtree said this week. As a teenager, he got into trouble. As a young father-to-be, he wants a career built on his passion for cooking. “It’s fun. It tastes good, and it keeps me occupied.”
On Tuesday, 75 graduates of the first class of the Unite Here Philadelphia Hospitality Academy will be honored at City Hall. Students range in age and capability from recent high school graduates such as Roundtree, a novice, to longtime chef and manager Anthony Cunningham, 53, who was laid off from his job at a Japanese restaurant in June.
“I’ve put in resumes, but I can’t afford to wait for a vacancy,” Cunningham said.
In a historic collaboration, LA’s Hospitality Training Academy (HTA) has teamed with UNITE HERE Local 11, the hospitality worker’s union, and management of the soon-to-open InterContinental Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles to meet and hire prospective staff. Seeing this level of outreach in the community was inspiring. The hotel plans to hire at least 550 union jobs with healthcare, pensions and other benefits. The new 900-room hotel will be the largest InterContinental in the Americas.
Contact: Amaya Smith, 202-637-5018
(Washington, DC, September 23, 2016) The U.S. Department of Labor announced that it has awarded AFL-CIO Working for America Institute (WAI) a $1.37 million contract to expand multi-employer apprenticeship programs in two important sectors with potential for job growth – manufacturing and hospitality.
“Training programs and apprenticeships are at the heart of organized labor’s efforts to ensure that working people have a voice in our country’s ever-changing economy,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Through union apprenticeship programs, individuals gain life-changing skills to do high-quality work and get solid, middle-class jobs.”
The Institute’s contract with the U.S. Department of Labor will be implemented in collaboration with the UNITE HERE restaurant and hospitality union, the AFL- CIO Industrial Union Council (IUC) and workforce intermediary organizations in the hotel, hospitality, culinary and advanced manufacturing industries.
“UNITE HERE’s training programs are the foundation of helping our members achieve a middle class life. These training programs are the key to our members moving forward and gaining new job opportunities in our hotels, food service and gaming industries,” said UNITE HERE President D. Taylor. “Boston, LA and Las Vegas are great examples of how our members can advance with employers that participate and support these important training facility locations. This grant will help tremendously with our training efforts.”
“Manufacturing apprenticeships are a key element in labor’s agenda to revitalize manufacturing and increase U.S. employer competitiveness in a global economy. The AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council is pleased to work with the WAI to expand critical apprenticeship opportunities that promote the growth of the manufacturing sector and advance the skills and wages of industrial workers,” said IUC Executive Director Brad Markell.
Additional contracts were awarded to North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and the H-CAP organization in the health care industry.
Original News Release from the United States Department of Labor
US LABOR DEPARTMENT AWARDS $20.4M IN CONTRACTS TO PARTNERS SEEKING TO EXPAND, DIVERSIFY REGISTERED APPRENTICESHIP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2015
Adine Forman, 310-597-1898, adine.forman@LAHTA.org
“Upskilling Summit” highlighting best practices in Southern California programs
LOS ANGELES – On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, the Hospitality Training Academy (HTA) will participate in a White House summit focused on the need to “upskill” America’s workforce. The summit will feature a diverse group of stakeholders, including members of both the business and labor communities, that are helping workers train to get ahead. HTA, UNITE HERE Local 11’s training fund, has been recognized for its best practices in working to upskill America’s frontline hospitality and food service workers.
“Upskilling”—the expansion of economic opportunity for America’s frontline, low-wage workers through skills training—enables workers to advance their careers, receive promotions, earn more for their family, and become larger contributors to their local economy.
In conjunction with attending the summit, the HTA has partnered with the soon-to-become Hyatt Regency Hotel LAX to upskill 150 members of its current workforce plus train 50 new employees, the first upskill hotel project in a long line of potential large-scale renovations being proposed in Los Angeles in the coming years.
After nine years in a LAX restaurant, Evelyn Foster faced unemployment when her concession was closed as the airport underwent a $4.11 billion modernization. She entered the Hospitality Training Academy where she and her co-workers were taught the skills they needed to raise the bar and win jobs and promotions at the airport’s new, higher-end concessions.
As airport concessions switch from fast food to fine dining, and hotels and stadiums remodel and upscale, the HTA ensures that union members, who are largely immigrants and/or people of color, are prepared to take the next step, securing higher wages and job security. With established training programs in several major cities, and new ones forming in cities like Washington DC, UNITE HERE local unions and participating employers are working to meet the needs of members, their families, and their communities.
The Hospitality Training Academy (HTA) a non-profit organization and a labor-management/Taft-Hartley Fund serving and providing training benefits to employers, the union and its members. The HTA is designed to improve Southern California’s hospitality, food service, and tourism industry sector by increasing the skill level of its workforce. Training is provided for both new hires entering the sector and current/incumbent workers seeking promotions through improved job skills and work experience.
UNITE HERE Local 11 represents more than 20,000 workers in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas and convention centers in Southern California.