When Adolfo Gomes first arrived in the U.S., he spoke little English and worked entry-level jobs in restaurant kitchens. Anyone who has met him will tell you that being in the back of the house isn’t the natural place for Adolfo’s outgoing personality, nor the best use of his degree in advertising from a university in Brazil. He’s a “People Person.”
A few years after Adolfo arrived, he enrolled in IINE’s Hospitality Training Program. Throughout the six week program, Adolfo and his fellow students learned vocabulary and best practices for working with customers. In addition to computer and communication lessons, the students drafted their resumes, and learned the basics about Boston’s vast tourism industry.
In addition to Mary Blunt, the Skills Training Manager who instructs the Boston HTP class, students learn from experts brought into the classroom over the course of the first month of classes. Adolfo’s class had the opportunity to do some career exploration with managers and team leaders from local Starbucks cafes. Starbucks staff facilitated career advice and conducted practice interviews with students.
The final two weeks of every Hospitality Training Program are spent job “shadowing” – learning on-site at a local luxury hotel. Adolfo completed the HTP program in February 2020, and was chosen to represent his classmates as Class Speaker at their graduation ceremony. His speech focused on all the ways he felt he and his classmates had prepared for their future by taking the class.
“The Hospitality Training Program has given me the necessary knowledge and skills I need to reach my goals,” he said. “I have improved my professional abilities, and this has given me the confidence necessary to apply for a job.”
Unfortunately, not long after Adolfo’s graduation from the program, COVID-19 arrived in Boston and things changed. The virus had a severe impact on the hospitality industry and very few “customer service” jobs were available to someone trying to break into the business.
But Adolfo was undaunted, and with the help of IINE’s Employment Specialists, he continued to apply for jobs where he could interact with customers. His persistence was rewarded.
On May 4th, he started working at a Starbucks in Boston. After a first few days of training, Adolfo reported to his team at IINE that he was learning quickly, and that Starbucks has “a lot of rules and safety protocols inside the store. They really care about their employees.” Although his shifts are reduced to begin, he said he is “very happy to be working during this period full of uncertainties”.
The Hospitality Training Program and the Healthcare & Hospitality Training Program are enrolling now for an online course that will take place this summer. This course is free for Boston residents who qualify. For information, see our web page!