New Program To Train Workers For Local Hospitality Industry

In yet another effort to prepare local residents for a new career, Columbus State Universitys Office of Community Development is set to begin a new program to provide the local hospitality with much-needed and well-trained employees.

Called the Hospitality Industry Partnership Program (HIPP), the initiative takes candidates referred by the citys Job Training Division and puts them through a five-week hands-on program. A partnership between Columbus State University, the Columbus Consolidated Governments Job Training Division and local hospitality industry representatives, the program teaches skills such as customer service and team building, and includes on-site training.

All graduating participants will earn a certificate of completion, test for nationally accredited certification, and, most importantly, become full-time employees.

'These are the type of initiatives that we are looking for that are innovative and meet the needs of the business community, said Howard Pendleton, director of Job Training Division.

The first class of 15 students, all sponsored by local employers, is set to begin Feb. 4.

We cannot be more pleased than to offer this program that cross trains employees and focuses on customer service skills, for progression within the industry, while also fulfilling a part of CSUs outreach mission in workforce development, says HIPP Program Director Candyss Westenhouser, a member of CSUs Office of Community Development.

This program could not be successful without the support we have received from the Job Training Division, the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, our hospitality industry steering committee, the Columbus Hospitality Association, the Columbus Career Center (part of the Department of Labor), the Department of Health and Human Services and most importantly, our employer sponsors. Each entity is equally important to the success of the programs mission, said Westenhouser.

The sponsoring employers for the first session include: Hampton Inn-North; Ramada Inn-Phenix City; Econolodge; Four Points Sheraton; McDonalds; The Speakeasy; Tavern on the Square; Dunkin Donuts; Fine Host, Inc.; and Courtyard by Marriott.

The first session of HIPP will end March 8. The participants will attend classes daily from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center on CSUs campus.

For more information, contact Candyss Westenhouser at 569-3062 or by e-mail at Westenhouser_Candyss@ColumbusState.edu