Andrea Ferrara joined the Embassy Suites by Hilton Monterey Bay Seaside in 2009. She viewed her new front desk job as a temporary post-college stop, but six months later, the hotel offered her a group rooms coordinator position. Ferrara enjoyed the work, and more promotions followed. Within five years, she became the property’s director of sales and events.
“Once I started moving up, I realized there were so many directions I could go. I grew up in the area and I watched the Embassy Suites being built, so it’s been fun to come full circle and build my career here,” Ferrara says. “The hospitality industry gives me the opportunity to live locally and build a family here. Without this job, I don't know that I would have stayed in the area.”
While growing her career, Ferrara has participated in employer-sponsored training programs and educational seminars by the Monterey County Hospitality Association (MCHA). The local trade group’s training and development committee offers professional development workshops that help hospitality employees advance their careers and explore new pathways within the industry.
MCHA seminars spotlight evergreen topics through the lens of current trends. This month’s interview skills workshop will include online interview tips, for example, and a March team member engagement session will emphasize ways to capitalize on employees’ individual strengths.
Other 2022 seminars will explore communication skills, guest loyalty development, supervisor training and additional themes targeted to human resources teams, managers and front-line professionals.
“MCHA seminars provide tangible, tactical career tools, whether participants choose a long-term hospitality career or work in tourism while studying something else. Employees gain knowledge, resources, and stronger problem-solving and customer-service skills,” says Quail Lodge Director of Human Resources Dina Hagens, a past MCHA seminar leader.
When front-line professionals provide excellent customer service, guests return to Monterey County. Hospitality supported some 27,000 local jobs and made a $3.24 billion economic impact in 2019 alone. Tourism generates tax revenues that directly benefit residents, funding vital city services and neighborhood projects.
“MCHA training programs also help busy human resources directors do more with less,” adds Dr. Paige Viren, executive director of CSUMB’s sustainable hospitality management program. Viren co-chairs MCHA’s training and development committee with Dr. Angel González.
At large hotel properties, MCHA seminars complement existing corporate training sessions and share valuable regional perspective. For small businesses with limited staff and resources, the programs provide training materials, structural support and timely information that they might not otherwise afford.
Tiered package prices make participation affordable to MCHA member businesses of varying sizes. Sessions also are recorded and closed captioned, so they can be viewed by different audiences at any time.
Whether supporting employee onboarding efforts or updating veteran workers on current topics, the seminars offer multifaceted benefits.
“These professional development programs add value to an employee’s resume. They also connect participants with their peers. Community ties have proven especially important as we navigate the pandemic, and these networking opportunities are an important MCHA member benefit,” says Viren.
The Monterey County Hospitality Association (www.mcha.net) is the trade association serving the local tourism industry with advocacy, education and employee recognition programs. For information on the 2022 MCHA seminar series, visit www.mcha.net or contact Kristin Horton at firstname.lastname@example.org.