Wednesday, October 17, 2007

No Ping Pong Show in Hanoi

I really love Hanoi.

...the only problem is that all of the bars close really early. That's OK though. I've taken it easy on the beer since we've arrived in Vietnam. I think I may have damaged my liver with all of the drinking we did in Thailand and Laos.

I hope it is not permanent.


The last two mornings we've had breakfast at a restaurant called KOTO, which stands for Know One, Teach One. It is a non-profit restaurant that's puts disadvantaged local kids through an hospitality training program.

They stay in a dorm and take classes and get real life experience working at the KOTO restaurant. At the end of the 18 month training program, KOTO places them in hotels and restaurants around town.

They have a 100% placement success rate.

Do we have something similar in Saipan?

With the end of bringing in cheap foreign labor just on the horizon, wouldn't it seem prudent to start training our local workforce to take over the jobs formally filled by contract workers?

This may already exist on Saipan, but if it doesn't, I would fully support creating something like it. I might even help with the training.

I got my start in restaurants. In my Richmond days, during the summers I was a Server Assistant at Wolfgang Puck Cafe at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World. I bussed tables and scraped food in the dish room.

When I graduated I became a Server. A year later I was a Key Employee, meaning that I was a Server three days per week and a Manager two days per week. I was making well over $1000 per week.

If I hadn't gone back to college and decided that I wanted to work in the Environmental Field, I could have stayed working in restaurants. I'd probably be a General Manager or a Regional Manager by now, making really good money.

In the two and a half years it took me to graduate from Rollins College, I worked at The Cheesecake Factory in the Mall at Millenia in Orlando. Then right after the 2004 Presidential election, I worked at Roy's Orlando (there is another Roy's in the Guam Hilton) for about seven months.

While listing off the ingredients of a Chinois salad won't help me much in my Environmental Career, I learned how to talk to people, how to sell things (selling an environmental ethic isn't much different from trying to get someone to buy an appetizer), how to organize (especially how to juggle 7 things at one time), and how to work efficiently (the faster you get your tables in and out of the restaurant, the more money you make). Those are skills that I use every day; they are just applied differently.

...I'm just saying that a training program for Saipan would be a good idea. Then maybe we could have more homegrown Angelos. We wouldn't have to export and reimport them.

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