Adult Training Program Awards Industry Certification, Job Placement

8/14/2012, 1:26 p.m.

Following 10 weeks of intensive instruction under a nationally-recognized curriculum of Skills, Tasks and Results Training (START), 13 District residents were conferred certificates as graduates of the Hospitality Outreach Pathways to Employment (HOPE) program. The ceremony, which was the program's inaugural graduation, was held Aug. 9 at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown.

The HOPE project, which brings together employers from the hospitality industry and representatives from the academic and nonprofit community, is a groundbreaking partnership between Progressive Partners, Goodwill Industries and the Community College of the District of Columbia.

Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyon McDuffie, who heads the City Council Workforce Development Committee, and Thomas Penny of Progressive Partners, were among those on hand to address the graduates.

"Quality service begins with quality employees and under the highly effective teachers that lead them," said Penny, adding that his organization also convened an Advisory Council to identify employment for program graduates who also receive industry certification. "The investment we have made in SMART training is only part of the equation, for what this program really represents is a commitment to effective hospitality job training and placement on behalf of residents in the District of Columbia."

Thirty six more adults are slated for graduation September.

Under the first-year program, developed and managed by the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education, participants receive START instruction, monitoring and coaching by veteran hospitality professionals from Progressive Partners.

While Goodwill Industries has been responsible for program recruitment, screening and soft skills training, the Community College of the District of Columbia has provided academic assessments and ongoing educational opportunities for participants.

"We will continue to support the next generation of hospitality professionals and exposing them to industry best practices for future success," said Colleen Paletta, Goodwill Industries vice president of Workforce Development. "Such success is possible because of this program, we are proud to be part of the solution and look forward to reaching even more District residents in the future."