Bunker Hill Community College Partners with BEST Hospitality Training

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A new articulation agreement between Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and Boston Education, Skills & Training Corporation (BEST Corp.) links students who excel in hospitality apprenticeships with opportunities for advancement in the field.

The agreement allows graduates of BEST Corp.’s Introduction to Hospitality Program the opportunity to transfer their credits toward an Associate Degree or Certificate in Hotel / Restaurant Management. Graduates of the program who have completed an Apprenticeship at a partner hotel are awarded twelve credits upon completion of their prior learning assessment portfolio.

“This type of program is an important example of what we want to do more of,” said Bunker Hill Community College President Pam Eddinger. “This is yet another way that BHCC is reaching out to populations who were never considered to be traditional college learners, giving them access and being creative about how we get them there.”

Founded in 2006 as a 501 c(3) non-profit workforce development program, BEST Corp. combines pre-employment and incumbent worker training designed to meet the labor needs of its hotel partners. Their mission is to provide individuals with the education, skills and training to stand out in the hospitality industry and their personal lives. BEST is a proud partner of UNITE HERE Local 26, the labor union representing members in hotels, restaurants, food service, the airport and gaming.

With more than thirty new hotels under development in the city of Boston, and the opening of the Wynn Hotel and Casino, there is anticipated growth for high-skilled workers in the industry. Housekeeping staff today must master the hard skills of cleaning hotel rooms and bathrooms, while also acquiring the soft skills required to provide top level customer service. Students who are pursuing their education through this articulation agreement will be well positioned to take advantage of new employment opportunities.

Eighty-nine percent of BEST Corp. graduates are successfully placed at Greater Boston Hospitality Employee (GBHE) Hotels, earning nearly $20 per hour plus an employer-sponsored health insurance benefit package. The first DOL-registered hotel housekeeping pre-apprenticeship program in the United States, the Introduction to Hospitality Training Program at BEST Corp. is a six-week, full-time course, and a 150-hour certified program that leads to apprenticeships in hotel housekeeping. Training includes components such as hands-on skills training in a model hotel room, ergonomics, chemical safety and blood-borne pathogens, cross-cultural communication skills, customer service, professionalism, non-harassment, financial literacy, computer skills, interview skills, hotel branding and two weeks of job shadowing.

BEST Corp. Executive Director Marie Downey says, “By partnering with Bunker Hill Community College, BEST graduates are recognized for the high level of skills they’ve acquired to start careers in Boston’s luxury hotels.”

According to Michelle Bloomer, Dean of Professional Studies and Workforce Development at BHCC, the new agreement is unique in that it relies on a prior learning assessment to be accepted into the program: “It values the knowledge and experience that students have in the field. We’re doing more to open our doors to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to a college education.”

Bunker Hill Community College is the largest community college in Massachusetts. The College enrolls more than 14,000 students on two campuses and at three satellite locations. BHCC is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in Massachusetts. Sixty-four percent of the students are people of color and more than half of BHCC's students are women. The College also enrolls nearly 1000 international students who come from 107 countries and speak more than 75 languages.

Media Contact:
Karen M. Norton, Executive Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications
Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, MA 02129
Phone: (617) 228-2177; Email: kmnorton@bhcc.mass.edu