PRESS RELEASE – MONROE College, the U.S.-based institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs from its campus in Castries, today held a graduation exercise for the first class of students to complete their programs at the new International Hospitality Training Institute in the southern town of Vieux Fort.
Working with St. Lucia’s National Apprenticeship Programme, the College created the Training Institute to provide a pathway for local residents to train for entry-level hospitality and tourism sector jobs, a mainstay of the country’s economy.
Jeannine Giraudy-McIntyre, President of the Senate in St. Lucia, cut the ceremonial ribbon at a reception to open the facility last October.
Marc Jerome, president of Monroe College, led the 10:00 am graduation ceremony, which was held on-site at the Training Institute.
Guy Joseph, the Acting Prime Minister of St. Lucia, addressed the graduates and guest and Mr. Kendall Khodra, Chief Planning Officer for the Ministry of Education, also spoke.
Cabinet Secretary Benjamin Emmanuel and Oracia Denbow-Bullen, Mayor of Vieux Fort, were also among local dignitaries in attendance.
There were 131 students in the Institute’s inaugural class, many have already secured entry-level jobs within their area of study. A light reception was held after the ceremony to congratulate the students on their accomplishments.
“It is an honor to be here today with our esteemed guests as we celebrate the first class of graduates from our new Training Institute,” said President Jerome.
“They leave here with the confidence of knowing they have the skills and professional training required to do well as they begin their hospitality careers. Such a career-ready workforce will no doubt be of great interest and benefit to the growing number of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and cruise ships operating in St. Lucia and throughout the Caribbean.”
The Institute offers five certificate programs, with training on professionalism and the essential “soft skills” that hospitality employers demand incorporated into each track. The available programs are: Bartending, Event Planning and Logistics, Front Office / Guest Services, Food & Beverage Service, and Housekeeping.
The second cohort of students admitted into the program began classes this week.
Monroe College celebrated its tenth anniversary in St. Lucia last year.
The St. Lucia campus, located on Vide Boutielle Highway in Castries, offers students from the Caribbean a broad array of educational opportunities through programmes.