Apprenticeships

Why a Major Hotel Chain Is Offering Apprenticeships - CityLab

Excerpt from CityLab

For most Americans, the word “apprenticeship” summons images of a master carpenter or welder imparting his trade to a young hopeful. But the reality of apprenticeship is changing. As the service economy continues to grow and diversify, employers are scrambling for workers with just the right skills. More of them are seeing the value of the old-school apprenticeship, bringing it into fields where it never formally existed before.

Tanner Saur, 22, turned down jobs at three other global hotel chains to be in the first cohort of apprentices at Hilton Worldwide, in a program that begins this month.

Saur—who has a master’s degree in hospitality management from Pennsylvania State University—will spend the next six months at Hilton’s Embassy Suites Convention Center in Washington, D.C., being paid to learn every aspect of the business: housekeeping, security, engineering, food and beverage, accounting, front office, and human resources. “I want to develop more as a leader and decision maker,” Saur says of his decision. Twenty-nine other recent college graduates will participate in the first phase of the program, training at Hilton properties around the United States.

Apprentices will compete a six-week rotation through all hotel departments. After that, each will choose a department to focus on for the next 16 weeks. (Saur plans to focus on housekeeping.) For their final project, apprentices will make a presentation to Hilton’s executive committee. At completion, they’ll receive a Management Development Program Certificate, which is a recognized credential across the industry, not just at Hilton.

“At the end of six months, we will work with each to help them decide their strongest area of interest, and then we will offer them a starting manager or supervisor job,” says Kimo Kippen, vice president of Hilton’s Global Workforce Initiative. In June, another 45 graduates will begin the same program for a total of 75 students this year. “Our goal is to have 370 students complete this apprenticeship program over the next five years,” Kippen says.

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