With tourism recognized as a growth industry in Southern California – and particularly in Pasadena, which is noted for its convention and sports attractions – it's no surprise that a job in hospitality management would be a gateway to a successful career.
A unique partnership between Pasadena City College and Singpoli Group is designed to throw that gateway wide open.
Last week, 14 students completed a six-week intensive training program designed to give them the skills necessary to run a boutique hotel, from front desk management to maintenance and everything in between.
The course of study was led by Robert Soriano, who previously taught at Le Cordon Bleu, to meet Singpoli's needs as it expands its flagship hotel. Singpoli is developing an extension to the Hotel Constance that will add 30 guest rooms, a rooftop pool, and three new restaurants on a bustling portion of Colorado Blvd.
Following three weeks of lectures and classroom learning that qualified the students to earn certificates in serving and food handling, the course ended with a three-week on-the-job experience at the Hotel Constance. Students learned firsthand what it takes to keep rooms clean, food hot, and customers happy at a modern boutique hotel.
"We wanted to give the students the tools and the portfolio they'll use in the real world," Soriano said.
While some colleges offer two- or four-year degrees in hospitality management, the six-week intensive was built to boost skills and build experience, giving students a stepping stone past entry-level wages. As part of the program, Singpoli will place participants in existing jobs at the hotel or put them in the queue for hiring when the hotel's expansion opens later this year.
PCC plans to use the program as a model for future contract education with other local hospitality industry leaders, including Panda Restaurant Group, which operates the Panda Express and Panda Inn restaurants. The college has also assembled an advisory committee to provide future direction on program curriculum and goals, with input received from the Hilton Pasadena, Pasadena Convention Center, and the Langham Hotel, among others.
In the future the intensive curriculum could also be adapted into a fully fledged hospitality management certificate program.