The CAA economic justice program welcomed a new cohort of its Hospitality Vocational Training Program (HVT) program. Since 2013, CAA has worked with Chinese Progressive Association and City College of San Francisco to lead Chinese immigrant jobseekers through a 3-month training program that introduces the skills and expectations needed in entry-level hotel jobs. These jobs often have the potential to lead to economic stability for immigrant families and career growth in the industry.

The HVT program includes multiple components. In addition to formal instruction through City College of San Francisco, the program provides diverse learning opportunities by incorporating hotel tours and HVT alumni as guest speakers. Through this model, HVT students are able to experience first-hand what it would be like to work in the hotel industry and hear directly from people, like themselves, who have graduated from the program and entered the industry. These experiences provide a more well-rounded learning environment, which helps students assess fit with hotel jobs and prepares them for employment.

In this collaboration, each partner plays a unique role. CPA and CCSF oversee and lead on administration, recruitment, and instruction, respectively. From there, CAA supplements classes and workshops with client services – supporting student success with job readiness services that include job application support, mock interviews, computer labs, and all other aspects to successful employment in the hotel industry. Post-graduation, CAA staff continue working closely with students to ensure successful job placement. With every student, CAA staff make ourselves available as resources to HVT alumni as they continue their career trajectory towards economic sustainability in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

In the 2017-2018 cycle, we worked closely with Stacy Zhang (a pseudonym used for privacy) as a participant in the HVT program. Previously she worked as a cook but wanted to make a career pivot. With little experience in hospitality or interacting with customers, Stacy put in the work to improve her English fluency and learn all she could by attending HVT classes, job fairs and making appointments with CAA staff to apply for jobs. CAA supported Stacy through the application process and she was able to get a job as a Room Attendant at Hotel Whitcomb.

HVT is just one of many of CAA’s economic justice programs to support the Limited English Proficient Chinese immigrant community members. We also welcome drop-in clients and generally have served as San Francisco Chinatown’s hub for professional development. Annually we serve an estimated 200 workforce clients a year and have plans to expand our capacity. Please get in touch if you or someone you know is interested in receiving workforce services!