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PSS students prepare to enter into hotel & hospitality industry

(Press Release) — The Latte Training Academy and the CNMI Public School System continue to deliver its American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute or AHLEI certifications to 75 public high school students at Kagman High School, Marianas High School and Saipan Southern High School.

The program’s second cohort of students began training at the beginning of the school year and have entered into the job shadowing component of the program.

This program component allows students to gain a better sense of real-world application of the course content and immerse themselves into the various aspects of hotel operations.

Local hotel establishments including the Fiesta Resort, the Hyatt Resort & Spa, the Lao Lao Bay Resort, the Mango Resort, the Marianas Resort & Spa, the Pacific Islands Club and the Saipan World Resort have all participated in the training program.

The feedback from participating hotels has been overwhelming positive.

PIC restaurant manager Henry Worswick says “it is a good program because it gives the students a general idea of the different departments and how each department operates within the hotel. The program shows the students the different types of jobs within a hotel and if it’s something they would be interested in doing.”

Glen Policare, PIC sports, entertainment and activities director, agrees in saying that “the AHLEI program is a great opportunity for students who want to get started in the hospitality industry. Aside from the classroom assignments and lectures, the students are able to shadow professionals in the field to experience what may lay ahead.”

The AHLEI program, which is currently only offered to Saipan public high school students, will begin offering courses to participants throughout the CNMI beginning in January 2015.

“The Latte Training Academy really wanted to begin course offerings at an appropriate pace,” said Latte Training Academy’s president, Arielle Buyum.

“We were fortunate enough to partner with the CNMI Public School System and have received a tremendous response from students and employers. As a relatively young non-profit organization, we wanted to make every effort to make certain our growth ensured stability and long-term success. Beginning in 2015, the Latte Training Academy will be offering various AHLEI certification courses to other segments of the CNMI.”

The organization plans on offering the coveted AHLEI certifications to existing hotel employees through an integration into employee development programs already instituted in many hotels across the commonwealth.

Jim Arenovski, Island Training Solutions president and Latte Training Academy’s exclusive training partner, believes that trained and qualified hotel and hospitality workforce is essential to the longevity of the CNMI’s tourism industry.

Arenovski states, “The AHLEI certification courses can easily be integrated into many of the hotels existing training programs. Our goal is to ensure that our entire hotel and hospitality workforce exceeds that of other destinations. We have to keep in mind that our primary economic driver is the tourism industry and as such, we have to ensure that our product is world-class, and that starts with the workforce.”

In addition to course offerings, the Latte Training Academy works alongside students to aid in their resume development and interview skills.

“We want to make sure that each participant has all the necessary tools to be successful in the job market,” said academy treasurer Jeremy Sasamoto. “It is not enough to train students with the hard and soft skills needed to perform the job, but we have to ensure that they are able to understand the job search process, as well as quality interviewing skills.”

The organization, which is entering into its second year of operations has received strong support from key groups, including the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce , the CNMI Public School System, the CNMI Department of Commerce and the CNMI Department of Labor.

“We are truly excited for the coming year and believe that we will be able to play a part in the preparation of our workforce given the unprecedented shift in our labor force,” Buyum said. “We certainly see the organization as being part of the solution and we continue to seek out synergies with other organizations to achieve a better CNMI.”

As the Fall 2014 hotel and hospitality courses are finishing up prior to the new year, all interested Saipan public high school juniors and senior students are encouraged to enroll for the Spring 2015.

A total of 25 spots at each of the Saipan public high schools are available.

Buyum adds, “We do have a waiting list from the previous term, so we encourage any public high school junior or senior interested in taking the course and earning the certification to contact their counselor to sign up.”

To learn more about the Latte Training Academy and its programs, email