Merced College offers free Hospitality Career Academy

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merced College is serving up an opportunity for students to start a career in hospitality.

Joshua Greenawalt is a proud graduate of Merced College's Hospitality Career Academy.

"I learned quite a bit," said Greenawalt. "Just a lot of the things I needed to do to be able to interview better."

He walked into the 12-week program with high hopes, an open mind and left with a job. He's now working as a steward at the El Capitan in Merced.

"We're always doing something, even on a slow day we have longer recipes, things that take a little time and prep work, but it's all worth it," added Greenawalt.

The academy is a partnership between the college and the boutique hotel chain, JDV by Hyatt. It's free to students and gives college credit and on the job instruction.

"Part of the classes included coming over to the Mainzer or El Capitan and hearing from professionals and having the opportunity to connect what they've learned in the classroom to real life," said Merced College Business Professor Jonae Pistoresi.

Students study communications, customer service, and team building. Upon completion, they meet with local employers. Many go on to jobs with the El Capitan Hotel and its Mainzer restaurant.

"We want them to look at us as a resource for a job. They've gone through this, they see what's possible, and they've been introduced to the culture at the hotel and the Mainzer, so they know what we're about," said Director of Culture and Community Impact Kim Garner.

The next class of students begin their training in February

For details on how to apply email You can also attend a kick-off event at the Mainzer on January 31st from 5:30-6:30 pm.
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