Hadia Diallo of South Boston enrolled at Quincy Junior College after high school. To afford tuition, she worked – as a teacher’s assistant at a local after-school program, a visitor’s experience associate at the Boston Children’s Museum, and a security officer – which meant that she could not attend school full time.
“After balancing school and work for so many years, I was stuck on what to do next,” said Hadia, now 25. “I knew that I wanted to go back to school and become successful, but I needed something to help me get back on track.”
Hadia’s husband had graduated from the BEST Hospitality Training Center’s pre-apprenticeship program in 2015, and by December 2017 he had advanced to a supervisor position at a luxury hotel in Boston.
After seeing her husband’s success, Hadia decided to try it for herself.
She applied and was accepted into the 6-week housekeeping pre-apprenticeship. As part of her training, she shadowed employees at two luxury hotels in Boston. Upon completion of the program, she was hired by a waterfront hotel as a housekeeping apprentice based on her excellent performance.
The paid apprenticeship includes 2,000-hours of on-the-job training coupled with formal instruction, and the opportunity to earn up to 12 credits at Bunker Hill Community College. Apprentices like Hadia can take additional courses in the college’s Hotel/Restaurant Management program at a substantially reduced rate through an agreement with BEST.
“I was looking for a career path and a great job where I can continue to learn,” said Hadia. “This program helped me to get a job at one of the best hotels in the city, the skills to be successful ‒ and I like interacting with guests.”
Today Hadia is learning the housekeeping and customer service skills she needs to pursue her dreams, which include a good-paying job, a college degree, and career advancement. Ultimately, she hopes to become a supervisor.
“This program has been life-changing,” said Hadia. “I’ve been learning new skills and making connections that have put me on a path to a career.”
James Lally is a deputy director in the Department’s Office of Public Affairs in Boston.