The Yéle Haiti Foundation, a grassroots charity organization that provides aid and assistance to the communities in Haiti in greatest need, announced today it is well underway on the final phase of its Hospitality Education And Training program (HEAT) in Jacmel, Haiti, designed to provide students with hands-on experience in preparation for the hospitality workforce. HEAT is a pilot initiative in partnership with HVS, the leading global hospitality consulting and services firm that is currently training 120 Haitian students over a six-month period in the core skills of the hospitality and tourism trades, accelerating job-readiness in the poverty-stricken country.
Supported by the Ministry of Tourism and funded by Yele Haiti, HEAT was launched in September 2011. For the past four months, experienced international instructors have been working alongside local Haitian teachers to implement a hospitality curriculum focused on customer service as well as the fundamentals of housekeeping, front desk, and food and beverage operations. The program, which runs through March, has entered its final phase of training where students are exposed to simulated hotel environments to practice their newly-acquired skills and gain practical knowledge. As well, the program has arranged for students to visit local hotels to shadow employees and to practice performing normal work duties in a real hotel operation as part of their experiential learning.
“Vocational training is the primary initiative for Yéle Haiti in 2012,” said Derek Johnson, CEO of Yéle Haiti. “HEAT has been designed to expose students with an in-depth knowledge as to how hotels work. This training enables them to be better prepared for understanding what high-level customer service means and enter the industry with some experience. The program helps provide much-needed job training in Haiti – vital for the country’s rebuilding— while significantly improving service standards in a growing tourist destination like Jacmel.”
The first student-run food and beverage initiative took place the first week of February 2012, with a four-day event featuring guest lecturer and sommelier David Grant from Vincor Canada, the largest producer and marketer of wine in Canada. Grant provided live instruction and training on wine and proper beverage service. The seminar culminated February 3rd with Taco Night at the HEAT Training Center, where students handled every aspect of the evening, ranging from menu planning, to food preparation, serving and the sales and marketing of the event.
"We're so pleased to welcome Mr. Grant to our Center and to include his fine wine expertise in HEAT," said Parris Jordan, Managing Director of HVS. "It was amazing to watch our students work with such a talented sommelier and learn so much about the fine art of wine - its history, how it’s made, food pairings, and that there is more to wine than just white and red. This type of professional enrichment is the key element of quality hospitality training that we are proud to provide through our program."
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