Career Center adding courses in hospitality and eco-energy - Green and Welcoming

NEWPORT - With an eye toward developing entrepreneurs for the hospitality and tourism industry, North Country's Adult Career Center Director Eileen Illuzzi has submitted a grant to fund the creation of a new certification program. The focus will be on careers in hotel and resort management, recreation, restaurants, catering, sales, marketing, tourism and event planning.Illuzzi presented the grant proposal to the high school board at a recent meeting and noted she had the support of area businesses and organizations including Jay Peak Resort, the Eastside Restaurant, New England Travel and Tourism, Lyndon State College, Community College of Vermont, and New England Culinary Institute. The program will draw upon the educational expertise and employment opportunities with these participating institutions.The $75,000 Program Innovations Grant proposal is a start up grant that will be used to help “morph” the current Business Tech program into the Hospitality and Tourism program.“The idea is to get students to have an entrepreneurial focus, to think about being a cook, and the owner of a restaurant,” Illuzzi stated. “Students need to know how to write a business plan so they can run their own businesses.”There will be a half-year pre-tech foundation class for students in the 9th and 10th grades as a pre-requisite for enrollment into the proposed program. Students who complete the two-year program will receive certification through the American Hotels and Lodging Association. The current businesses tech teacher will also undergo AHLA certification.The proposal includes an optional 30-hour internship through the Eastside Restaurant and Jay Peak Resort for additional certification.Start up date for the program will be the 2013-14 school year. Should the school board approve the grant proposal, Illuzzi will apply for a second grant of $50,000 to complete funding for the development of this program.Another new program has received grant funding for the implementation of a sustainable energy technology program. The curriculum includes “powering with nature,” including wind, solar, photovoltaic energy, and geothermal systems. The career center received a $10,000 planning grant, a $75,000 start up grant, and Illuzzi anticipates a $40,000 final grant to complete funding for the program.