The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI) has been serving the training and professional development needs of hospitality industry professionals for 60 years. Arthur Landstreet, a Tennessee hotelier and chair of the (then-named) American Hotel Association’s Education Committee, first proposed an independent training organization to prepare hospitality personnel to fill the industry’s many open management positions in 1949. Industry response was lukewarm, but Landstreet managed to interest Conrad Hilton in his idea. J.B. Herndon, one of Hilton’s vice presidents, embraced education as the focus of his AHA presidential platform, announcing the formation of the American Hotel Institute when he accepted the presidency in 1951. EI had its birth at Mississippi State University in 1953, where the school’s faculty worked closely with hospitality leaders throughout the country to determine the industry’s training needs and develop a 12-course home-study curriculum for middle managers. EI moved its offices to Michigan State University in the mid-1950s and consolidated with the AH&MA’s education department in 1959. In 1997, the company’s headquarters moved to Orlando, Fla., while academic sales, publications, and fulfillment remained in Michigan. From home study courses, EI began to expand its professional development resources in the 1970s, with the introduction of the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), EI’s first professional certification. Today, EI offers more than 20 professional certifications. Throughout its history, EI has responded to industry needs with new programs and delivery methods that keep pace with the times. The first EI training video was produced in 1985. In 1996, EI introduced language-free videos for line-level training, responding to the industry’s diverse workforce. In 1999 EI began offering online, web-based trained, CourseLine® and CyberCinema®. The organization’s online store was launched in 2003, enabling customers to order over the Internet. In 2011, EI began offering some of its textbooks in eText format, and added online components to some textbooks to offer additional learning material for learners. Several of EI’s professional certification exams are also offered online.
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