My name is Adine Forman, and I am the Executive Director of the Hospitality Training Academy (HTA), located in Los Angeles, CA. The HTA is a 501(c)(3), Taft-Hartley/labor-management partnership between UNITE HERE Local 11, a 32,500+ member labor union with 170+ hospitality and food service employers in Los Angeles County, Orange County and the State of Arizona, and its contributing employers.
The HTA provides top-quality, upskill vocational training to union employees as well as a variety of workforce development, apprenticeship, English as a Second Language (ESL)/vocational ESL, and training programs funded by government and private foundations grants. HTA is committed to training low-income, marginalized individuals for employment in the hospitality industry, and has established nationally recognized, evidence-based best practices in the provision of workforce development services that include job training and apprenticeship programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the hospitality and food service industry in Southern California and across the country. Hundreds of thousands of hospitality and food service professionals are out of work, major employers are closed for regular business, and massive industrial kitchens have been left un-utilized. At the same time, many populations affected by the virus need access to high quality meals, including front-line workers, COVID-19 patients, at-risk and isolated seniors, and people experiencing homelessness (PEH).
Since May 1, 2020, the HTA, UNITE HERE Local 11, and participating employers have sought to address these problems through “Serving Our Community” (SOC), a program that has delivered 325,000+ meals to 4,900+ at-risk and homebound senior citizens, and people experiencing homelessness (PEH). Contracts have been entered into with the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).
These programs have returned 300+ culinary professionals to living wage union jobs with excellent healthcare, dental, pension, and other benefits. In addition, these programs have returned 400+ YellowCab and 90+ PrimeTime Shuttle drivers to deliver meals to Southern California residents. The HTA has also created an online course catalog of over 34 online classes to train hospitality and food service professionals.
These classes, in our state-of-the-art kitchen in the heart of Koreatown, range from Disinfection in the Age of the Pandemic to High-Level Asian Cuisine to Vocational English as a Second Language (VESL). The students not only learn about COVID-19 and disinfection so they can return to work and stay healthy, but also take classes to upskill and return to work at higher paid positions. We are doing all we can to lessen the deep fiscal impact on the hospitality industry, bring laid-off workers back to work, and make the suffering a little less for those vulnerable populations in Los Angeles.
Submitted by Adine Forman, Los Angeles County – Los Angeles.