Earlier this month, the Beacon Council presented Diageo Latin America & Caribbean with the prestigious 2014 Beacon Award for Education at the 12th Annual Beacon Awards held at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. The organization was recognized for their transformational program Learning Skills For Life, a partnership with the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. The program offers eight free weeks of skills and job-readiness training and certification, including an internship component. Training is focused on teaching customer service skills and issuing relevant certifications, such as bartender, restaurant server, food handler, banquet setup, and guest services.

FIU and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute offer the Banquet Server certification as well as the Restaurant Server certification. FIU offers the Service Excellence certificate and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association offers the ServSafe Food Handler certification.

Since the partnership began in 2012, over 250 participants successfully completed the community outreach program, which also offers assistance with job placement.  Jeffrey Wahl, FIU Project Manager of Learning Skills for Life, states that this transformative community outreach program  not only provides participants with viable new employment skills, but upon completion of program will also have a sharpened awareness of customer service skills.  “Although practical skills training and certification introduces participants to new employment opportunities, it is the emphasis on life skills and customer service skills that truly separate our candidates from other entry-level potential employees.  Our graduates learn how to dress for success, how to write resumes and cover letters, practice through mock interviews with industry human resource directors, and most importantly, how to make a positive difference amongst others.”

The Beacon Council is Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partnership.

Learn more about the Diageo LAC FIU partnership.


Top, pictured left to right:
Jeffrey Wahl, Program Manager for the Learning Skills for Life Program
Sonia Jacobson, Miami Director, Dress for Success
Simone Champagnie, Executive Director of the Institute for Hospitality & Tourism Education & Research
Jessica Siskind, Senior Director of Development at the Chaplin School
Janelle Prieto, Global Manager, Diageo Learning for Life
Mike Hampton, Ed.D., Dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management

Bottom, pictured left to right: Janelle Prieto, Dean Mike Hampton, Bill Bullard, and FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg.