In May, 2015, the City of Los Angeles’ Workforce Development Board (WDB) awarded the Hospitality Training Academy (HTA) an “Upskilling Initiative” Grant of $100,000, as part of their vision to prevent mass layoffs and also participate in President Obama’s UpSkill American Initiative, led by the White House and the Aspen Institute. This funding allowed UNITE HERE Local 11’s 162 workers at the Concourse Hotel at LAX to elevate the service they provide to guests as part of a $60 million modernization to a Hyatt Regency Hotel. The ESL classes are among the 60 classes that have already transpired in the hotel, made possible with the City’s financial support to the HTA and its partners, UNITE HERE Local 11 and the management from The Concourse Hotel.
On March 31, 2016, The Concourse Hotel held its first English as a Second Language (ESL) graduation consisting of 24 Room Attendants. The guest speakers included:
The Hospitality Training Academy developed the trainings around Hyatt Regency standards to help hotel employees improve their services to guests, including ESL, culinary training, ServSafe training, TiPS Safe Alcohol Service, and customer service trainings.
Margarita Mendoza, a hotel employee since 2003, stated, “I am extremely grateful for my job at the Concourse Hotel. I feel blessed and beyond satisfied that I am finally learning English. I never attended school, or even sat in a classroom as a child. I did not know how to read or write well. Up until this class, I never participated in any learning experience.”
Gregg Irish, Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles stated “A skilled, empowered workforce is crucial to the growth and success of our city, as our airports and surrounding hotels make critical first impressions on the millions of travelers that visit us each year.”
“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.