Workforce Training

Hospitality is a high-growth career with much potential for qualified workers.  Globally, hospitality and tourism continue to experience steady growth.  In the United States, travel and tourism is the first, second, or third largest employer in 30 of the 50 states. Hospitality offers great diversity in its career opportunities and  is known for promoting skilled workers quickly through the ranks to supervisory and management positions. According to a 2014 survey of lodging professionals, 50% of hotel general managers got their start in entry-level positions.

The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has the resources you need to prepare your clients for long-term careers in hospitality and tourism. AHLEI's training programs are used by myriad workforce development programs and agencies that work with the following audiences:

  • youth
  • immigrants and refugees
  • formerly homeless adults
  • correctional facility inmates
  • people with disabilities
  • displaced workers 
  • military veterans

AHLEI certification materials meet the requirements of stackable and portable certifications for Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant purposes. As the certifying body of the hospitality industry, AHLEI offers training that culminates in industry-recognized, portable certifications endorsed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA).  These industry-developed and industry-recognized trainings and certifications can open doors for YOUR clients. These training and certification programs include:   

For a detailed look at our offerings for workforce agencies, download AHLEI's Workforce Development brochure.

AHLEI's premier workforce training curriculum is called START (Skills, Tasks, And Results Training). This 180-hour curriculum covers 12 hospitality positions with the opportunity to earn at least one professional certification. Click on the tabs below for complete details. 

For more information and special pricing available for Workforce Centers*  
Please contact us at: 1-800-344-4381 or email us at workforce@ahlei.org .

The Skills, Tasks, and Results Training (START) program components have been created with the instructor in mind - everything needed to teach the program has been provided  in a simple to use format, even for those instructors without a background in hospitality. Supplemental materials for enhanced learning can be purchased separately.

  • Textbook
  • Student Workbook (includes activities that develop core skills such as reading, writing, vocabulary, technology, and math)
  • Teacher Workbook
  • Lesson Plans
  • Assessments (also available on CD-ROM)
  • Videos/DVD's
  • Final Exam
  • Voucher for front-line certification
  • Transparency Masters/Power Point Slides
  • Documents and Templates

Unit 1 - Hospitality Orientation

  • Hospitality and Careers
  • Professionalism
  • Guest Service
  • Safety and Security

Unit 2 - Rooms Division

  • Rooms Division
  • Reservationist
  • Bell Services Attendant
  • Maintenance Worker
  • Public Space Cleaner
  • Front Desk Representative
  • PBX Operator
  • Guestroom Attendant
  • Laundry Attendant

Unit 3 - Food and Beverage Division

  • Food and Beverage Division
  • Restaurant Server
  • Banquet Set-Up Employee
  • Banquet Server
  • Bus Person
  • Provides specific skills knowledge leading to an industry recognized and portable professional certification from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
  • Provides a smooth transition to higher-level hospitality coursework
  • Prepares those students ready to go straight from the classroom and into the workforce with a selection of (12) entry-level lodging positions
  • Integrates core skills such as reading, writing, technology, and math into the lodging curriculum
  • Showcases the lodging industry as an industry of high-growth potential ; one which has seen six consecutive quarters of employment growth
  • Teaches the foundation of lodging operations while promoting the long-term career pathways available to students
  • Promotes professionalism, confidence and positive work ethics

Although START can be customized to a number of needs, often times we are asked to provide a sample syllabus for first-time instructors.

Below please find the recommended break down for the START program.


Number of

Sections in



Recommended # of Hours

Needed to Teach Chapter

Unit 1: Hospitality Orientation   
Ch. 1: Hospitality and Careers 4 
Ch. 2: Guest Service  
Ch. 3: Professionalism  
Ch. 4: Safety and Security 11 
Unit 2: Rooms Division   
Ch. 5: Rooms Division  
Ch. 6: Front Desk Representative  11
Ch. 7: Reservationist  11 
Ch. 8: PBX Operator 4 
Ch. 9: Bell Services Attendant 11 
First Semester Total40  85 
Ch. 10: Guestroom Attendant 11 
Ch. 11: Maintenance Worker  11 
Ch. 12: Laundry Attendant  
Ch. 13: Public Space Cleaner  11 
Unit 3: Food and Beverage Division   
Ch. 14: Food and Beverage Division 10 
Ch. 15: Restaurant Server  11 
Ch. 16: Banquet Setup Employee  
Ch. 17: Banquet Server  11 
Ch. 18: Bus Person  
Review for final   
Second Semester Total 41  95 


Download Syllabus  that has been successfully taught in a 12 week time-frame.

A distinct feature of the Skills, Tasks, and Results Training (START) program is the opportunity to earn an industry recognized and portable professional certification from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI).

Widely recognized as the preeminent leader in hospitality certification, AHLEI strongly supports and encourages the certification of hospitality professionals. Certification demonstrates proficiency. It is a concrete indication of your skill, and shows employers and guests that you are committed to your profession and are well trained with proven abilities. Certification gives job seekers a competitive edge over noncertified candidates, increased job retention and an opportunity to earn higher wages.

Students who successfully complete the START curriculum and pass the final exam will receive a voucher waiving the fees for a Hospitality Skills Certification in one (1) of five (5) areas covered in the START curriculum. 

In addition to the industry recognition, the START certifications are unique in that they highlight student's preferences. Since students are trained in various hospitality positions they can use their personal goals and interests to determine which of the qualifying positions best suit them for upward growth, setting the stage for their hospitality career.

Front line certification designations available for START students include:

For those schools wishing to explore a stackable certification option for their students, AHLEI is pleased to present the Guest Service Gold® program and professional certification. Guest Service Gold® is a comprehensive program that can easily be incorporated into the START curriculum as a complement to the program components. The goal of Guest Service Gold® is to create guest service-oriented front line employees who know how to engage with their guests in order to provide memorable guest service. Students who complete the Guest Service Gold® program have an opportunity to add yet another industry recognized certification - Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®)  - to their list of qualifications. The Certified Guest Service Professional may be selected as one of the certifications included in the cost of the START curriculum, or if students choose one of the four position-specific certifications, it may be added to the curriculum for an additional fee.

Who is the Educational Institute (AHLEI)?

AHLEI is a 60-year-old, independent, nonprofit subsidiary of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. We create employee training materials for the hospitality industry, publish and distribute textbooks used for hospitality programs in high schools and universities, and oversee the professional certification program for the lodging industry.

Why was the START curriculum created?

The START (Skills, Tasks, and Results Training) program was created as a result of discussions with many Workforce Development professionals. They felt it was important to have career training that focused on the actual skills and tasks needed to secure a job and move up the career ladder.

How was the START curriculum developed?

We invited representatives from the hotel industry, workforce development, education, and corrections and formed a focus group that also included our instructional designers and other industry experts. This group looked at the potential student population, level of education and barriers to learning in order to develop the outline for the program.

How long is the course?

The course is designed to include 180 hours of classroom learning. Some instructors invite in guest speakers from the industry, arrange field trips to hotels to view the work being performed and provide additional hands on learning, which can add to the total course hours.

What does the course teach?

The course covers 12 of the major line-level positions in the hospitality industry and teaches the skills and tasks necessary to do each job. In addition, the student learns about the lodging industry, guest service, professionalism, safety and much more.

What type of credentials does START provide?

Graduates of the START class receive a Certificate of Completion from the Educational Institute once they pass the final exam with a score of 70% or higher. In addition, students may also apply for a professional certification in one of four line-level positions and/or guest service certification. These certifications are recognized nationally. The registration fee for one (1) professional industry certification is waived for students of the START program.

What is the target student base for the program?

This curriculum can be used for both youth and adults. Workforce boards, correctional facilities and job corps use the program for skills training that directly feeds into the workforce. High schools and colleges use the program as an introductory class for higher-level hospitality coursework.

How are the classes facilitated?

The classes can be provided by One-Stop Centers, community or faith-based organizations, community colleges, alternative high schools or other facilities with classroom space.

Does the teacher have to be from the hotel industry?

Anyone with teaching or training experience can instruct the program. The program components have been created with the instructor in mind - everything needed to teach the program has been provided in a simple to use format (instructor workbook, lesson plans, overheads, assessments, etc.). Supplemental materials for enhanced learning can be purchased separately.

What about starting pay rates?

In the hotel industry, people start at the ground floor and work up. We have found that in many areas, hoteliers may be willing to start graduates at a slightly higher pay rate to recognize their accomplishments. In other cases, people have received raises after 90 days.

How can a Workforce Investment Board get involved?

It's easy. You can call us at the number below to set up a one-on-one conference call with the key stakeholders from your team to review the curriculum and components in order to help you evaluate the merits of initiating the START program in your area.

Call 1-407-999-8100 or email academics@ahlei.org.

Read Some of the START Success Stories!

"The Skills, Tasks, and Results Training (START) program is viable and relevant to today's economy and at the same time is interesting and doable. It offers hope to the released inmate that she can find gainful employment upon release. The possibility that an inmate could leave prison, find employment, gain self worth and not come back to prison is our goal."
Debbie Ressler, START instructor
E. C. Brooks Correctional Facility, Muskegon, Michigan

"The addition of the START program to Exodus' Refugee employment program is awesome. Having a more targeted hospitality training program gives their clients a heads-up about what they will be encountering on the job at the hotel. It will help facilitate my training process that they will have this introduction to the job."
Carlos Burgos, Director of Style

Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel, Carmel, Indiana
Hires graduates from the START program at Exodus Refugee Immigration in Indianapolis, Indiana, to staff hotel's housekeeping department

"Of the students in the inaugural class of the Skills, Tasks, And Results Training (START) workforce development program offered through the Human Resource Development division of Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina, 85% of students quickly found jobs after graduation. One graduate was hired as an assistant general manager, while another found a placement as a night auditor. Others found work in food and beverage, room service, and front office positions."
Samir Pawa, Hospitality Instructor
Wake Technical Community College, Raleigh, North Carolina

"This certification is the hospitality industry's gold standard, showing they completed the 180-hour course, with a score of 70 percent or better. The objective is to make these women more marketable and to give them skills to assist them in re-entering the workforce."

Alianna Timmins, START Instructor 
Swananoa Correctional Center for Women

Joint program of the Department of Corrections and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College