WASHINGTON – U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su visited the Hospitality Training Academy in Los Angeles on Nov. 17, 2022, to see how its Registered Apprenticeship Programs are providing workers – especially women of color – the training and skills they need to secure good union jobs. The visit coincided with National Women in Apprenticeship Day.

Deputy Secretary Su engaged with students in the academy’s Line Cook Apprenticeship Program. The apprentices shared their experiences in the program, gained through classroom instruction and hands-on work in a fully equipped commercial kitchen.

“President Biden has delivered historic investments in our nation’s workforce system, a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure,” said Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su. “Registered Apprenticeship is one of the innovative and time-tested superhighways in the workforce development infrastructure, particularly for communities who have been excluded from good jobs for far too long.”

“The Hospitality Training Academy’s Registered Apprenticeship Programs provide training, transportation and childcare costs, and a direct path to a job with union wages, benefits, and protections. They are a model for the nation,” Deputy Secretary Su added. “The academy’s programs are the kind of partnerships between unions and employers we need to train today’s workforce and help ensure equitable access to these jobs.”

At the academy, Deputy Secretary Su also talked about how the department is supporting the academy’s Registered Apprenticeship Programs with a $3.9 million grant made by the California Department of Employment Development, as part of a $13.5 million Quality Jobs, Equity, Strategy and Training grant the department awarded to the state in September 2022. During the visit, California State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo also presented a $20 million check from the state to the Hospitality Training Academy.

Those on hand for the event included academy leaders and apprentices, state officials, and industry and labor leaders that included California Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development Natalie Palugyai, California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, Chair of the state Commission on the Status of Women and Girls Lauren Babb, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Director of Labor Relations Christie Sutherland. Representatives from UNITE HERE Chicago Hospitality Institute and UNITE HERE Local 1 in Chicago also attended, demonstrating how HTA’s model is being replicated.

Fretecia Johnson – a graduate of the academy’s Registered Apprenticeship Program – and a member of UNITE HERE Local 11 in Los Angeles, shared her views on the program. Local 11 represents more than 32,000 hotel, restaurant, airport, sports arena and convention center workers.

“The Hospitality Training Academy apprenticeship was free and supportive, and it has allowed me to improve my life and that of my family,” explained Fretecia Johnson, an HTA graduate now employed at the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Convention Center in Los Angeles. “As a woman in the male-dominated culinary field, I’ve struggled some, but it’s been well worth it. I advise other women looking to get in the food industry to jump, slide or push your way to get started. Just do it and don’t hold back.” 

“I am proud to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week and showcase registered culinary apprenticeship programs that put job quality and equity front and center. We intentionally work to move individuals from vulnerable and marginalized communities, including homeless and re-entry individuals, out of poverty and into good union jobs with benefits, career pathways and worker voice. We look forward to working to scale this program nationally,” said Hospitality Training Academy Executive Director Adine Forman.

Since the 2015 launch of the academy’s Registered Apprenticeship Program, 13 cohorts of apprentices have completed the program. Of the program’s graduates, 51 percent are men, 47 percent are women and 2 percent transgender.

In addition, the program’s graduates are 52 percent are Hispanic, 33 percent are African American, 10 percent are Asian Pacific Islander, 3 percent are Caucasian, and 2 percent are Native American.

During the eighth annual National Apprenticeship Week, more than 1,000 events and activities were scheduled throughout the country.


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