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    Sunday, July 21, 2019-7:51:39A.M.






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76 students graduate from hospitality program

SEVENTY-SIX students from three high schools on Saipan completed the three-month hospitality program of Latte Training Academy and the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute or AHLEI.

The students received their certificates of completion during a recognition ceremony at Fiesta Resort & Spa on Tuesday evening.

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It was the largest group of students to complete the program since Latte Training Academy introduced it on Saipan. They came from Marianas High School, Kagman High School and Saipan Southern High School.

The academy started serving the community in April 2014 and had just 15 students, according to Jim Arenovski of Island Training Solutions, AHLEI’s regional partner and licensee.

Since then, he added, 351 students have completed the training.

“This graduation will be the sixth such graduation and sees us exceed 300 Public School System students who have received this certification, with many of them now gainfully employed,” Arenovski said.

He said the Latte Training Academy is the most successful job training group in the CNMI, adding that many of its former students are employed now or are attending college off island or Northern Marianas College. Some, he added, are studying culinary arts at the Northern Marianas Trades Institute.

“This program is the premier pipeline for matching jobs with job seekers in the hospitality area,” he said.

Arenovski said as the island’s economy gets stronger, more businesses are looking for motivated young people to grow with their companies.

“The certification program works — it is recognized by every hotel and resort on Saipan, and employers know that it is better to hire students with this certification than those without.”

Latte Training Academy executive director Arielle Buyum said the recognition event marked a significant achievement for many of the students, adding that what they have accomplished is underscored by a common thread which is perseverance.

Buym encouraged the graduates to “maximize” their newly acquired certifications as she also challenged employers in the hotel and hospitality industry to provide students with employment opportunities.

“There is no escaping the fact that these young men and women represent our future and while it may feel comfortable for employers to dismiss our young workforce as ‘green’ and ‘inexperienced,’ these students have demonstrated that they have the competencies and skills to effectively contribute to our hotel and hospitality industry as evidenced by their attainment of a globally recognized certification,” she said.

Island Training Solutions administrator Maureen Sebangiol said the students who excelled during the training received special recognition.

They are, from Kagman High School — Jasmine Joann Blas and Frances G. Santos; from Marianas High School — April Gayle Catagatan, Maya Roubia David, Tiffany Mae Deco, Fritz Jan Manzano, Joanne Orosco and Marianne Fernandez Sembrano; from Saipan Southern High School — Vicente B. Ada,   Audrey Jan Afable, Clarisse K. Borja, Jaymee V. Caguioa, Crystal Delos Reyes, Michaela E. Gariguez, John Romeo Malasarte, Jasmine R. Umbay and Timothy L. Villanueva.

In his remarks, acting Gov. Arnold Palacios said the training program will continue to contribute to the lifeblood of the island’s economy.

“You graduates have gone the extra mile in this program to prepare yourselves for a career in the hotel industry that will lead to a lot of opportunities,” Palacios said.

Over the past two years, PSS and Latte Training Academy have been providing high school juniors and seniors Skills, Tasks, and Results Training or the START hospitality certification course from AHLEI.

“You graduates will be the ambassadors of our beautiful islands to our visitors and the leaders of our tourism industry. I urge you to continue to learn, grow, and be creative,” the acting governor said.

During the recognition ceremony Arenovski also presented certificates to their partner hotels: Laolao Bay, Coral Ocean Point, Pacific Islands Club, Kanoa Resort, Saipan World Resort, Fiesta Resort & Spa, Aqua Resort Club, Hyatt Regency, Kensington Hotel, and Mariana Resort & Spa.

The presentation of AHLEI certificates to the student were led by Larry Lee for KHS, Tyce Mister for MHS and Kanae Quinn for SSHS.

One of the graduates, Jaymee Caquioa, said aside from learning a lot during the “shadowing sessions” the training is a “good investment” in her future.

“I plan to open my own café,” she said, adding that the training did not affect her academic studies as a high school senior.

Another graduate of the training program, Kelah Q. Lequigan, said: “I enjoyed housekeeping during the shadowing session.”

She may take up a hotel and restaurant management course in college.

Also attending the event were PSS federal programs officer Tim Thornburgh, Reps. Joseph Leepan T. Deleon Guerrero, Edmund S. Villagomez, and Angel A. Demapan.