The Hospitality Workforce Training Program for Refugees and Immigrants helps immigrants and refugees develop workforce skills in hospitality. The program will offer this underserved population hospitality job skills training to enable them to find employment, secure a financial means of living, and re-establish their credentials.

Program Directors

Dr. Jerrie Hsieh

Dr. Yuchin (Jerrie) Hsieh (Principal Investigator) is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Hospitality and Service Innovation at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Purdue University. Her research is geared toward helping decision-makers improve employee health, wellbeing, and quality of life, thus increasing operational performance and productivity. In her industry career, she was an active trainer, designing and conducting hotel employee training programs.

Dr. Muhamet Kesgin

Dr. Muhammet Kesgin (Co-Principal Investigator) is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Hospitality and Service Innovation at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. degree in Hospitality and Tourism from Coventry University in the United Kingdom. Dr. Kesgin has extensive international hotel and restaurant experience across five countries. While working as an Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at Robinson Club Nobilis Belek, Turkey, he was responsible for events and venues as well as the operations of the company’s five restaurants and bars.

Program Consultants

  • Dr. John Oliphant, RIT College of Health Sciences and Technology    
  • Mrs. Lameisha Mack, Catholic Charities Family and Community Services  
  • Mr. William Gunther, RIT Inn and Conference Center  


Mother Cabrini  Health FoundationMother Cabrini Health Foundation

Mission: We provide grants to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of diverse communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. 

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is home to many leading creators, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers. Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls more than 19,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs, including doctoral and career-oriented professional degrees, making it among the largest private universities in the United States.

The University is internationally recognized and highly ranked for academic leadership in business, game design, computing, engineering, imaging science, liberal arts, and sustainability, as well as in fine and applied arts. RIT also offers unparalleled support services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation. Global partnerships include campuses in Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo.

RIT Hospitality and Tourism Management Programs

RIT’s Hospitality and Tourism Program is housed under the Saunders College of Business. The program has a more than 30-year history of excellence in hospitality education. RIT’s hospitality alumni are everywhere in the world. Many of its alumni are renowned leaders in the hospitality industry. The Hospitality and Tourism department has been involved in food and beverage workforce development and supporting the training programs for the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) and the New York Kitchen (Former New York Wine and Culinary Center).

Rochester Hotel Association

Since 1992, the Rochester Hotel Association has been an institution to help foster, develop and promote, the business of its fellow members. We are a non-profit organization that allows the interchange of ideas and information, in order to protect the hotel industry in the Greater Rochester area.

Hospitality Workforce Training Program

Participant Eligibility Requirements

  1. Refugees or immigrants with proof of U.S. work authorization (EDA or Green Card- Legally eligible to work in the U.S.)
  2. Be 18 years old of age or older to participate in the program
  3. Proof of COVID-19 booster vaccination (in compliance with RIT’s COVID-19 policy)

English Language Proficiency Requirements
All courses are conducted in English

  1. Minimal to middle-level English language proficiency required for Housekeeping and Food & Beverage Server programs
  2. Middle-high level English language proficiency required for the Supervisor program 

** Minimal level: I can speak very little English. (I cannot carry on a conversation)
** Middle level: I have basic conversational skills (I can talk about a few topics)
** High level: I can carry on a conversation and talk about many topics.

Program Fees: free (including free refreshments, lunches, and RTS bus passes) 

Three Programs Offered

1. Hotel Housekeeper Training Program

2022 Class Dates, Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
8 consecutive Saturdays

  • March 5, 12, 19, 26
  • April 2, 9, 16, 23, 2022

Course Topics

  • What does a hotel housekeeper/cleaner do?
  • English for Housekeeping
  • Applying ergonomics to housekeeping work
  • Workplace safety
  • Legal rights of employees
  • Utilizing exercises to relax muscles and reduce physical pain             
  • Coping with stress
  • Hotel tour and on-site cleaning practice

Registration Deadline February 20, 2022

2. Food & Beverage Server Training Program

2022 Class Dates, Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
8 consecutive Saturdays

  • May 7, 14, 21, 28
  • June 4, 11, 18, 25, 2022

Course Topics

  • What does a serving worker do?
  • English for food and beverage servers
  • How to provide gracious customer service
  • Workplace safety
  • Legal rights of employees
  • Coping with stress
  • Restaurant tour and on-site service skill practice

Registration Deadline April 20, 2022

3. Supervisor Skills Training Program

2022 Class Dates, Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
8 consecutive Saturdays

  • October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
  • November 5, 12,  19

Course Topics

  • Workplace diversity
  • Team building and motivation
  • Communication skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Delegation and time management
  • Customer service and service recovery
  • Stress management
  • Creating a safe, healthy, and happy work environment

Registration Deadline September 20, 2022

Program Location

4th floor of the Eastman Building, Classroom Number: 4287
Rochester Institute of Technology: 14 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623

Maps and Directions

Contact Us

Associate Professor
(585) 475-2355

Hotel Job Information Links