In February, The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo hosted 50 students from Valley High School’s Job for Americas Graduates (JAG) Program for a day of tours and workshops to expose them to all the opportunities in the hospitality industry. JAG is a highly effective, data-driven model that raises graduation rates and prepares participants by honing their work readiness skills.
“It is vital that we invest our time to help promote interest in our industry and to help guide the next generation’s workforce,” Thomas Shirasaka, Assistant Executive Chef at The Venetian and The Palazzo. “Hopefully we peaked the interests of the students in joining this industry. We all know that there is a lot of hard work involved in this industry but it is also very rewarding. It’s not your standard 9 to 5 job sitting in a cubicle.”
JAG students graduate at higher rates than their peers and are exceptionally prepared with a tool box of workplace skills that lead to success at work, in postsecondary education and/or the military. It includes specialized curriculum, mentorship, follow-up programs and supportive services to ensure barriers to education, like home situation, low-income or lack of resources and supplies, are removed to ensure a successful path to graduation. Valley High School is a Title 1 school, meaning that a large majority of their students (67%) qualify for free and reduced lunch.
“I feel privileged to spend time with the next generation which one day will run our businesses and our governments,” Max Tappeiner, Vice President of Hotel Operations said. “By spending time with them, I do hope to instill some of the virtues that have allowed me to enjoy professional success. This generation will face unprecedented challenges and only with a strong moral compass and strong convictions will this generation overcome the future challenges.”
Team Members conducted departmental tours and hands-on demonstrations of different working areas of the hotel and casino including hotel operations, security, I.T. and the kitchens. In addition, students were able to “speed date” with over 20 different departments to learn what each area does to keep the building running. Each department set up a booth and students could visit with representatives at their own pace. To conclude the day, Tappeiner shared inspirational words and candid stories of his own experience in the hospitality industry. He urged students to follow their passions but also to set realistic goals and to try new things.
“Hard work remains at the core of what we do,” he said. “I have yet to see a successful business professional who lacks this virtue. You can achieve anything if you set your mind to it. However, be mindful that often times your profession may not be the biggest passion of your youthful years, such as music or sports. However, if you become passionate about your work and about what you do, there is no limit to what can be achieved.”
Sands Cares plans to continue similar programs like this with other area schools to increase exposure to the hospitality industry and break down barriers to employment for new graduates. Las Vegas Sands is dedicated to making our communities better places to live and promoting a strong quality of life, fostering an environment for growth. In each of our communities, we focus on partnerships that promote the community’s livability by strengthening educational opportunities and helping people become more employable and productive by improving the region’s overall foundation by solving chronic issues.