A team of Valencia College volunteers, including members of the Division of Global, Professional and Continuing Education, assisted current and former Loews Hotels employees affected by the pandemic by providing information sessions regarding training opportunities available at Valencia College. These training opportunities for students are paid for by Cares Act funds allocated to Orange and Osceola Counties from the state of Florida.
The bulk of session participants — approximately 60 individuals in attendance — were former Loews Hotels employees who have been recently laid off or have had their work hours reduced due to a drop in tourism and other rattling changes caused by COVID-19. The effort was part of a partnership between Valencia and Loews to help workers polish their skills and possibly transition to a new industry.
“This is beneficial to the students who have to transition their careers to a new industry that is in demand,” said Carolyn McMorran, assistant vice president, professional and continuing education.
“It also helps employees improve their language abilities so they too can gain employment. The Loews employees have been super grateful for this opportunity and the Loews human resources team has been absolutely wonderful to partner with. This opportunity shows how much Loews cares about their people,” she added.
The sessions, which were held virtually via Zoom on Wednesday, September 23 and Thursday, September 24, 2020, included information on Accelerated Skills Training programs offered by Valencia. These provide students with quick career training in fields where there is demand and, in many cases, lead to industry certifications required in their field.
Information about Valencia’s language programs, many of which can also be completed quickly, was also shared. In addition, several Valencia employee volunteers were on hand to translate the information into Haitian Creole and Spanish.
To receive free tuition and take advantage of the CARES Act funding grant, a federal grant used to assist those affected by the pandemic, students must complete an application and provide supporting documentation for meeting the requirements for the grant.