Marano Fellows Class of 2014
Name: Polly Bates

Director of Communication and Curriculum


Culinary Academy of Las Vegas

Location: North Las Vegas, NV
Industry Sector: Hospitality and Tourism

Organizational Background & Mission: Since 1993, the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas has been training people for entry-level jobs in the hospitality industry, as well as providing qualified incumbent workers with free upgrade training. As a labor-management trust, the Academy has invaluable partnerships with the Culinary Union 226, Bartenders Union 165, and 26 premeiere hotel properties on the Las Vegas Strip. The Academy’s vision is to reduce poverty and unemployment by providing employability and vocational skills to youth, adults, and displaced workers. Its mission is training people for successful hospitality careers in Las Vegas. Each year, the Academy prepares approximately 1,700 individuals in 11 job classifications including baker’s helper, bar back, bar porter, bus person, food server, guest room attendant, house person/utility porter, professional cook, sommelier, steward, and wine server. Our instructional model simulates actual working conditions wherever possible. Students receive practical training through our restaurant, the Westside Bistro, and our catering operation, Culinary Arts Catering, which provides off-site catering and banquets at our event center.

Interest in Sector Work: As a sector-focused organization, the nonprofit Academy is continually looking for ways to enhance training--both for new entrants who are trying to break into the hospitality industry and incumbent workers who are looking to advance in their careers—with the goal of improving skills and earning capacity and contributing to overall industry competitiveness. We connect trainees with employers, emphasizing job placement and a solid pathway to advance through career ladders. In recent years we have developed several new vocational classes in response to employer input and changing needs on the Las Vegas Strip, including the baker’s helper and fine dining server curricula. The Vocational English for Speakers of Other Languages course addresses the language needs of non-native English speakers who plan to enter the hospitality industry. We also created an internship program to give graduates the experience to advance to higher-level positions with our employer partners. In addition, we frequently develop and deliver customized training for properties to respond to new employment trends. Through our strategic vision, the Academy is helping to build a more stable and self-sufficient community.