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2013 - 09 September

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Indiana Casinos Partner with Workforce Program to Offer Students a Future

Casino hotels in Rising Sun, Indiana, are partnering with a local career education center to provide hospitality students with an up-close look at the industry, and even better-an opportunity to interview for a job after graduation.

The Education Center of Rising Sun uses the Educational Institute's Skills, Tasks, And Results Training (START) curriculum to prepare students for entry-level jobs in hotels. 2013 marks the third year that the center has offered two classes per year of START, averaging 15 students per class. They range in age from 17 to 70 and share the common goal of needing a job.

The Education Center of Rising Sun became a reality when the Lilly Endowment Inc. provide $38 million in grants to the Region 9 EcO15 initiative. Economic Opportunities through Education by 2015 (EcO15) has provided grants which funded educational programs associated with Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Hospitality/Tourism for 10 counties in Southeastern Indiana. The goal of EcO15 is to advance people in the Southeast Indiana region by at least one level in their education, training, job placement, and income level.

According to Sandy Bowlus, who teaches the START program, it made sense to reach out to the three casinos in the area: Rising Star Casino Resort, Belterra Casino, and Hollywood Casino, to ask for their help in enhancing her students' educational experience.

"All three are American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) member properties, and they thought it would be a great idea," said Bowlus, who asked if they could provide guest speakers, property tours and field trips, and job shadowing opportunities. Beyond that, all three casinos offer one more thing: any student who completes the 14-week program and successfully passes the START exam is guaranteed an interview with each of the three properties. "It doesn't mean that they get a job, but they get a chance," she said.

Tim Conley, PHR, director of human resources for Rising Star Casino Resort, explained how the process works.

"We talk to the students in the classroom and share things they might not know about the casino. We also clarify what they need to do to break into these fields, what's expected, how to interview, what employers are looking for-basic job search skills," he said. "Once the students graduate, Sandy sends us a list. When a department is hiring and receives applications, we check to see if they are on the list of graduates. If they are, they get one interview, an opportunity to try for position. Overall, it has been a positive experience. We're always looking for good hires. If someone's in the START program, we're willing to give them a shot."

Because several of the positions for which START trains are related to the food and beverage of hospitality, Gilles Hilliou, Rising Star Casino Resort's director of food and beverage, has a close relationship with the START program and its students.

"It's important for our future to be involved with the START program," he said. "Even after they get the job, they need a lot of support. We have to guide them through the process, because they often don't have a lot of support in their lives."

Hilliou, a 40-year hospitality industry veteran, said that it doesn't take a lot of time to make a difference in the life of a START graduate, but it does mean that managers and supervisors need to be focused on giving these new employees a chance to succeed by understanding that having and keeping a job may be a completely new experience for them.

"When we hire from the START program, we have to make a commitment to these students," said Hilliou. "Sandy Bowlus works very hard and cares so much about her students. We have to continue the path that she began with them. We need to help them jump the hurdles and give them the pride of being self-sufficient and earning a paycheck. Being involved is an attitude, and it can make the difference between an employee who leaves and one who makes it."

To learn more about the Rising Sun Education Center START program, visit www.educationcenterofrisingsun.


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 Meets with Tourism Leaders in Montenegro

AHLEI has started exploring partnership opportunities in the Montenegro market, beginning with discussions on academic and workforce development opportunities hosted by the Hospitality Educational Center (HEC) in Budva, Montenegro in early September. AHLEI education and training consultant John Lohr participated in the discussions in Montenegro as part of a trip that also included visits to Croatia and Hungary.

To first understand the needs for education and training, the HEC arranged a roundtable discussion composed of directors and presidents of Montenegro tourism and government organizations. In attendance were the: Secretary of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, representatives of the Ministry of Education, Executive Director of the Montenegrin National Employment Agency, President of Montenegrin Tourism Association, Chairman of the Tourism Committee in the Montenegrin Chamber of Commerce, and Montenegrin Employers Federation.

Montenegro, which belongs to the central Mediterranean, is a small country of around 650,000 inhabitants but it is a major tourism provider. According to the Statistical Office of Montenegro, in 2012, tourists realized 1,439,500 arrivals, which is 4.8% more in comparison with the previous year 2011.They made 9,151,236 overnight stays which is 4.3% more than in 2011. Overnight stays of domestic tourists represented 11.1%, while foreign tourists represented 88.9% of all overnight stays in 2012.


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.

Revised Controlling Alcohol Risks Effectively® (CARE) Program to Debut in October

The Educational Institute is revising its responsible alcohol service seminar, Controlling Alcohol Risks Effectively® (CARE), with new and expanded content, updated instructor materials, and a new training DVD that was filmed in August at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The new DVD features 4-5 new training scenarios and updated versions of alcohol service scenarios presented in the earlier version.

Other updates to the program include more detailed information on checking IDs; new content covering mini-bars, room service, and self-service gift shops that sell alcohol; and additional information on products that affect the body's absorption of alcohol, such as energy drinks, herbal remedies, and medication. To meet various state requirements, the program will also include information on tobacco sales. The English version of the revised CARE for Servers program will be available in mid-October.

For information, call 800.349.0299 or +1.407.999.8100.


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, TripAdvisor, Collaborate on Reputation Management Training

The Educational Institute, in partnership with TripAdvisor, is developing a 30-minute online tutorial that introduces front-line staff to the concept of reputation management. The course, which will be available soon, explains how positive guest reviews contribute to a property's bottom line and provides information on how staff can encourage positive guest experiences through exceptional guest service.

TripAdvisor's reputation management course provides an overview of the site, including an explanation of the site's popularity rankings. Trainees learn where negative reviews come from and how employee involvement can impact guest satisfaction. They gain an awareness of management responsibilities and their own roles in the review process. The course provides tips on acceptable ways to ask guests for reviews, as well as information on TripAdvisor's policies on fraud, threats, and blackmail. Learning is assessed using "What Do You Think?" questions throughout the course and an end-of-course quiz.


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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