OKLAHOMA CITY — Nine Francis Tuttle Technology Center students are the first in the nation to earn a newly-defined, industry-approved hospitality certification.

Francis Tuttle teamed with the Oklahoma Restaurant Association (ORA) and the Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association (OHLA) to develop the HospitAbilities Oklahoma Hospitality Certification.

In collaboration with hospitality industry experts, Francis Tuttle created a tailored curriculum to teach industry-approved competencies and jobsite skills. Students in the program received instruction in many areas including culinary skills, use of commercial kitchen equipment, sanitation and safety. Francis Tuttle instructors led the classes.

“We know that not all students display their gifts and talents in the same way,” said Kari Bailey, Francis Tuttle service careers instructor. “HospitAbilities is a new program for students who want to get started in the workforce and join the industry. We offer a HospitAbilities Certification for students of all abilities.”

Following completion of the required classes and trainings, industry evaluators administered competencies tests to students enrolled in the program. Ninety percent of students successfully completed the tests to earn certification. As part of this innovative partnership, the ORA will assist these students in obtaining employment in the service industry.

“The HospitAbilities program represents an employee population that wasn’t readily available to us before,” said Chandy Rice, ORA’s director of education. “Together with Francis Tuttle Technology Center, among other career centers, we are able to train and certify students for today's workforce. Rather than testing on paper, this certification involves bringing in industry evaluators to score the students individually. Because there are many different skills needed in the hospitality industry, our students are able to play to their strengths and open many doors for their future.”

“This certification is another instance where our instructors collaborated with industry leaders to create and implement a program that will benefit our students and the industry,” said Denton Blevins, Francis Tuttle instructional director. “We are evaluating the program elements and requirements in anticipation of this becoming a national certification in three to five years.”

Francis Tuttle Technology Center serves high school students and adults in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area with career-specific training, in support of developing and maintaining a quality workforce for the region. Francis Tuttle also offers complete business and industry training and consulting services, and short-term training for career development or personal enrichment. With four locations in Oklahoma City and Edmond, Francis Tuttle offers central Oklahoma diverse training programs in fulfillment of the school’s mission to prepare customers for success in the workplace.

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