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2013 - 08 August

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AHLEI Continues Development Work with USAID in Albania

CHT class Albabia - newsletter USAID Rritje Albania, a Competitive Enterprise Development Project, hosted three EI training and certification programs for the Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT) and Guest Service Gold/Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP), along with a product knowledge seminar on the Train, Retain, Assess, and Certify (TRAC) program in Albania earlier this summer.

Fifteen participants were hand chosen by Rritje Albania and AHLEI's future local training partners, the Destination Management Organization, in Korce, Albania to participate in the seminar, which was conducted by AHLEI's master trainer Jennifer Calhoun, CHE. In 2011, Rritje Albania also hosted Certified Hospitality Department Trainer (CHDT) training for numerous individuals in Albania.

BONUS FEATURE: Read a detailed account of the history, scope, and activities of the USAID/Rritje Albania project.

During the train the trainer sessions for Guest Service Gold and TRAC, each participant had to plan and execute a 15-minute presentation that included instructional objectives, appropriate content presentation methodology, support media, and interactive activities.

Participants came from various disciplines, including lodging, travel and tourism, consultants, and education. "The diverse group provided very spirited group discussions and insightful commentaries," said Calhoun. Calhoun added that she was "appreciative of the contributions of Nevila Popa and Orieta Gilozheni, who provided logistical support and provided additional information about how principles taught during the workshop could be applied to the local culture."

Gliozheni, the manager of the DMO Korce, commented that "we completed the training and the exam. It has been a hard week for all of us, but also very excited and interesting. Jennifer was really a very good trainer working hard with us clarifying concepts and philosophy of the industry."

In the future the DMO will provide AHLEI certification and training programs for the hoteliers of Albania in an overall effort to create a sustainable training model to increase the level of professionalism in the Albanian tourism industry.


About the American Hotel & Lodging 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.

CHRIE Panel Explores Role of Professional Certification in the Post-Secondary Curriculum

Haaga Helia students CGSP class newsletter 2013 The Educational Institute participated in a panel discussion about the role of professional certification in the curriculum during the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (I-CHRIE) summer conference in St. Louis, Missouri, in late July.

Moderated by Robert O'Halloran, dean of the School of Hospitality Leadership, East Carolina University, and president of the AHLEI certification commission, the presentation explored the concept of professional certification in the classroom in terms of its price-value relationship for students, academic programs, and the hospitality industry.

Panelists were Chris Jack, AHLEI's vice president, professional certification; Mike Nalley, senior manager of education and training, Best Western International; Stacey Veden, director, global university relations and recruiting operations, Marriott International; and Peter Starks, president, Red Global Group.

Several organizations offer hospitality students the chance to earn professional certification before graduation, including AHLEI's Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®), the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe certifications, and the new STAR Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA) presented by AHLEI, I-CHRIE, and STR.

O'Halloran said that some of the key questions raised during the session included:

  • Does certification help graduates in the job search process? Does it give them a hiring advantage?
  • What are the criteria for considering certification programs in the curriculum?
  • How does certification fit into the structure of an existing academic program?

"The general feeling was that it is a positive thing to have certification in the curriculum," said O'Halloran. "The industry people on the panel said that hiring someone with certification would reduce the amount of training they would have to do. On the education side, assessment is everything and certification offers a way to assess students' knowledge. Professors like that."

O'Halloran noted that the recruiter on the panel said that while professional certification is not going to get a student a job, it is a point of differentiation between that person and another candidate. "The student has to be able to explain what the certification means and how it will help them," said O'Halloran. "What does that certification mean you can do? An interviewer will want the job applicant to provide behavioral relevance, that is, to give an example of what the certification enables them to do."

For professors, the question is: how does this certification fit into the structure and content of my course? How does this content line up with what I'm teaching? "Instructors want something that can be integrated into what they already do in class, rather than having to add on extra material that doesn't easily fit," explained O'Halloran.

He also noted that schools that are really engaged in assessment like certification because certification is easily quantifiable. Students take an exam and receive a score and a designation. It's very clear when they have achieved the goals of the program.


About the American Hotel & Lodging 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.

AHLEI Offices Celebrate National Dog Day

Dog collection 2013 newsletter As the dog days of summers drew to a close, AHLEI's Lansing, Michigan, and Orlando, Florida offices went to the dogs as they celebrated National Dog Day on August 26. Both offices held donation drives to help pet rescue organizations, while AHLEI's Facebook page "went to the dogs" as employees shared photos of their family pets.

AHLEI partnered with the Orlando-based non-profit Hospitality Industry Partner (H.I.P.) for Pets to collect blankets, linens, chew toys and other items that were donated locally to Rescuing Animals in Need (Orlando) and the Animal Placement Bureau (Lansing).

H.I.P. for Pets was founded by Scott and Ellyn Chapman. Scott has worked in the hospitality world for more than 20 years in positions ranging from housekeeping manager and training director to hospitality executive. Ellyn has done work in the nonprofit sector as a grant writer and worked as a dog groomer. The Chapmans and the board of directors are dedicated pet owners who believe that hospitality and animal organization professionals can work together to help every guest-and every adoptable pet-be at home.

H.I.P. for Pets helps hospitality organizations donate worn linens, towels and other items to animal organizations to help reduce hotel waste removal costs by an estimated 7 percent and produce a green boost to hotels' bottom lines and sustainability initiatives. Animal organizations benefit from receiving much-needed linens, towels and other items that help with the care of homeless pets being sheltered and waiting to be adopted--thus lessening the cost of that care and helping to end unnecessary euthanasia. Ellyn adds: "Linens are the number one need on every Rescue's list…next to food! They need them for cleaning the animals, crates, and for bedding. Linens that can't be donated for human use can always be used to help animals!"

AHLEI staff members were proud to be able to help H.I.P. for Pets in its mission and to raise awareness about organizations doing good work on behalf of our furry friends.


About the American Hotel & Lodging 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.

CHA® Network Supports Certification Candidates through New Mentoring Program

CHA 2013 newsletter Hotel general managers and executives who want some extra support as they prepare for the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA®) exam can find it through a new CHA® Mentoring Program being offered by EI and the CHA® Network on LinkedIn.

The three-year-old CHA® Network on LinkedIn has 650+ members and represents a good slice of the hospitality industry worldwide, according to Bob Walasiak, CHA, vice president of Chicago-based Peacock Hospitality, who founded the group.

"The CHA® Network is a forum where CHAs can converse with others who have the same experience, ask questions, and share insights," said Walasiak. "One question we have asked ourselves as a group is how we can help the CHA® designation grow. The response was 'pass on our experience going through the CHA® program and share our knowledge.' The goal of the group is to help the next generation of CHAs and what better way to help than to mentor a hotel manager who wants to achieve his or her CHA®."

Walasiak noted that when he earned the CHA® in the 1980s, it was something people did on their own. And while people think it's easy, many don't pass the CHA® exam the first time, and may not try again. A mentor can provide additional encouragement, support, and guidance through the certification process.

"The CHA® mentoring program matches an applicant with a current CHA® and gives them someone they can turn to," Walasiak explained. "The mentor helps to evaluate the candidate by reviewing the key areas of expertise covered in the exam and providing assistance or directing the candidate to resources where they can get help in boosting their knowledge."

So far, more than 50 members of the CHA® Network have volunteered to serve as mentors worldwide. EI's certification team informs candidates that mentoring is available, and candidates and mentors are matched geographically so they can meet in person if they so desire.

The CHA® candidate sets the schedule for the level of mentor involvement. The applicant is responsible for an honest assessment of what he or she needs and the mentor is responsible for providing the requested assistance. If the candidate does not pass, EI provides the mentor with information on the areas of poor scores to help them prepare their candidate for a retest. In return for their assistance, CHA® mentors receive two points toward their recertification point total.

For additional information on the CHA® Mentoring Program, contact EI's professional certification department at 888-575-8726 or +1. 407-99-8100, or email certification@ahla.com.


About the American Hotel & Lodging 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.

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