Catholic Charities of Buffalo's Immigration and Refugee Assistance Program recently received two grants totaling $200,000 to develop a Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute (HTTI), in partnership with Niagara University's (NU) College of Hospitality and Tourism Management Program.
The grants were awarded by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) and The Statler Foundation.
WNYREDC selected Catholic Charities to receive an Unemployed Worker Training Program award of $99,600, funded by the New York State Department of Labor. The training program will provide occupational skills training for long-term unemployed refugees in New York State, preparing them for full-time jobs and meeting the needs of local businesses in the region. In 2014, WNYREDC secured a total of $58.6 million for 69 projects.
Through The Statler Foundation's 2014 Legacy Grant, Catholic Charities was awarded $100,000 for hospitality training through Niagara University for the refugee and immigrant community. The Statler Foundation, established in 1934 from the estate of hotelier Ellsworth M. Statler, has contributed to hospitality-related courses over the years.
Both grants will aid in the creation of HTTI, which will provide hospitality and tourism training and education services to 48 refugees and immigrants in the first year. Four 10-week hospitality/service industry-focused training sessions will be offered.
"The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council has placed an emphasis on better preparing our workforce and aligning job training with various industry needs, like the growing tourism sector," said WNYREDC Co-Chair and University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi.
"In support of this regional strategy, the Catholic Charities' new Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute will focus on providing long-term unemployed workers with the skills they need for a sustainable career path in tourism and hospitality - the fourth largest employment sector in New York," Tripathi added. "I'm pleased that through Governor Cuomo's Regional Council initiative and Department of Labor funding, Catholic Charities will help prepare Western New Yorkers and connect them with in-demand jobs."
Robert M. Bennett, Chairman of The Statler Foundation, affirmed the foundation's choice of Catholic Charities.
"The Foundation is pleased to present this award to a very well-known agency that is more than capable of providing services to a wide range of people, and the partnership with Niagara University reinforces the positive nature of this grant for a population that will greatly benefit from these collaborative services," said Bennett. "We look forward to working together on this important endeavor."
Through personalized training, the program will also offer job preparation, retention and advancement, and critical transition services that address barriers to securing and maintaining employment. The goal will be to secure employment for participants within 30 days of completing the program.
Dennis C. Walczyk, Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are very grateful for the support of Governor Cuomo's administration through the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, The Statler Foundation, as well as Niagara University, their support will provide our refugee clients with the opportunity to participate in the dynamic and growing hospitality and tourism industry in Western New York."
Deborah T. Curtis, Director of NU's Center for Events and Management Development, will lead HTTI. She previously led their Hospitality Training & Research Center and has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry.
In 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched REDC and the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process to provide each region with the tools to create and implement their own plans for economic prosperity and job creation. Each of the 10 REDCs throughout the state are comprised of local experts and stakeholders from businesses, local government and non-governmental organizations. The CFA is used to access multiple state funding sources for economic development projects through one application.
The Statler Foundation is a non-profit organization established for research work to benefit the hotel industry in the United States and nurture more proficient workers in the areas of training, construction and operation of hotels.
NU's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, founded in 1968, was the first program in the world to offer a bachelor's degree in tourism and has a long history of training individuals to succeed the industry.
Catholic Charities resettles approximately 625 refugees per year and provides services to an additional 400 immigrants annually. Pre- and post-arrival services such as assistance with housing, food, clothing and employment are provided, as well as naturalization workshops and citizenship classes. For more information, call (716) 842-0270.
For 91 years, Catholic Charities of Buffalo has been making a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity in Western New York. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assesses its clients for other needs to ensure long-term success. It is the most comprehensive human service provider serving Western New York. For five years, Catholic Charities attained the highest possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives highest ratings for quality of service from the Council on Accreditation.