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New city program offers path to hospitality careers

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: New city program offers path to hospitality careers
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A new program aims to take advantage of the flourishing hospitality industry in Ithaca, by giving job seekers the skills to meet employer's demands. Tamara Lindstrom tells us how the new Hospitality Employment Training Program is giving residents a chance to jump-start successful careers.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- It's a city where tourism thrives and hotels continue to grow.

"So why not place folks who need work right here, where they live and work together?" asked Nagiane Lacka Arriaza.

That's why the City of Ithaca has created the new Hospitality Employment Training Program.

Pairing unemployed or underemployed residents with hotels, restaurants and spas who need knowledgeable employees.

"A lot of folks are really working hard and really want to find employment that makes sense for them," said Lacka Arriaza, HETP Coordinator. "But this program is about exploring what you're really interested in, what your skills really mean. Not just taking anything that's out there, but really building a career and having the technical skills to get there."

It's an opportunity Jessica Reeves hopes will help launch her career.

"I think it will because they offer a lot of training in a bunch of different things," said Reeves, who is applying to the program. "And I think it will actually help me better to put the things on my resume that they'll be training me in. I'll have more certificates, which will look really good to employers."

With just 15 people enrolled in the program at a time, participants will get plenty of individual attention to help ensure their career path is a successful one.

"What that means is, if someone really wants to do food preparation, if they really want to be a chef, getting them that certification, showing them that road," Lacka Arriaza said. "What's the next step to fulfilling your specific dream?"

The program offers a paid internship, and help overcoming barriers to employment.

"Well it is a six month paid program, and it will help me to better myself," Reeves said. "I'll be able to go out and get a job in many different fields because of this program. It gives me a good opportunity that I haven't gotten before."

The program is funded by the City of Ithaca Community Development Block Grant, and residents ages 18 to 30 can apply.

For more on the program, including a link to the application, head to www.ci.ithaca.ny.us/departments

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