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Thursday, September 29, 2022


Three Hospitality Training School students got a first-hand look at the Ritz Carlton Resort from the perspective of the "Front of the House" and the "Heart of the House" by working May 4 as "hospitality employees for a day" during National Tourism Week.
The "Front of the House" of any hotel includes the front office, restaurants or any public areas, and the "Heart of the House" includes offices relating to hotel operations, such as personnel, housekeeping and security.
Lydia Shillingford, human resources employment manager for Ritz Carlton St. Thomas, said, "The program gives students an opportunity to work behind the scenes of the hotel industry. Most think only of the front desk, but there are many divisions that make up a hotel. The program is important because the person-to-person contact students encounter can't be learned in a classroom. Front-line personnel must learn to anticipate the needs of customers before they ask."
Erica Maynard, human resources benefits coordinator and administrator for the resort, said, "Shadowing in the industry may be the deciding factor of whether a student wants to work in a hospitality career. Students will discover if they really want to pursue the career."
Jason Alexander, 18, a senior at Charlotte Amalie High School, said, "I learned that your attitude toward customers means a lot. You have to be courteous to a customer. Without the customer there is no restaurant or no hotel!"
Alexander intends to pursue a career in restaurant management.
Johnson George, an 18-year-old senior at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, said, "Local people of the Virgin Islands should see tourism as a major industry. I encourage more locals to join the industry so companies won't have to send for persons from the mainland to do what locals can do in the industry."
George aspires to be a comptroller for a hotel. George, who currently works for Caneel Bay Rcsort, said that working at the front office of Ritz Carlton reaffirmed his belief that customer courtesy is very important.
Teshanee Leonard, a 17-year-old senior at Charlotte Amalie High School, wants to be a doctor. She said she enrolled in the Hospitality Training School because "I am learning how to work with people."
Ernest Knight, the Hospitality Training School director, said a total of six students from the school participated in the "Hospitality Employee for a Day" program. Alicia Rabess was assigned to Bluebeard's Beach Club and Villa. Johnson George, Teshanee Leonard and Jason Alexander worked at Ritz Carlton. Wendy Williams shadowed at Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort; and Dorian Lambert spent the day at Wyndham Sugar Bay Beach Resort. The students are seniors at Charlotte Amalie and Ivanna Eudora Kean high schools.
"The students really gained valuable experience," Knight said, thanking "all the participating hotels for helping the school have another successful year in the program."
Editor's note: Gloria Gumbs is public relations manager for the V.I. Tourism Department.

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