Southwest, EDGE partner to offer free hospitality training

For more information, contact: Diana Fedinec, Director of Public Relations and Media (901) 333-4247

Southwest, EDGE partner to offer free hospitality trainingHave you seen the number of hotels newly built and under construction all over Downtown and Midtown Memphis? The hospitality industry is booming. With national travel magazines like Trip Savvy touting Memphis as the “Best Overall Travel Destination of 2019,” the number of visitors to the Bluff City continues to climb and with it, the need for a sustainable, qualified workforce to service those travelers.

Southwest Tennessee Community College, Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County (EDGE) and local hospitality partners have partnered to meet the industry’s growing workforce needs by offering a free, five-week hospitality training course beginning March 9, designed to equip participants for careers in the leisure and hospitality industries. Participants who successfully complete the course will receive two professional, widely respected credentials: Servsafe Food Handler certification and American Hotel & Lodging Institute’s Guest Service Professional certification. The program will be offered at Southwest’s Whitehaven Center, 1234 Finley Road in Memphis. Preference will be given to applicants who reside in the Whitehaven area.

“We are excited to partner with EDGE, Elvis Presley Enterprises and Hilton Hotels to help build a pipeline of quality employees for the entire hospitality industry,” said Anita Brackin, associate vice president, Southwest Workforce & Community Solutions. “The hospitality industry is vital to the Memphis economy, and individuals completing this course will get a good grasp of what is needed to succeed and advance.” Hospitality jobs are becoming a hot commodity in Memphis, serving up a variety of careers ranging from hotel and resort staff to tour management to food and beverage service, and more. The Metropolitan Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association’s 2019 lodging industry update reports that 1,675 hotel rooms were under construction and 3,845 rooms were proposed as of Feb. 2019. Last year, in Shelby County, there were more than 49,000 leisure and hospitality jobs.

Included in the course are essential skills training and a guided tour by Backbeat Tours to Memphis tourist spots such as Graceland Guesthouse, STAX Museum, Civil Rights Museum, Uptown and Midtown and lunch at Alfred’s on Beale Street. “Partnering with Southwest to provide this kind of training is a win-win for everyone in our industry,” said Michelle Lewis-Flowers, vice president Human Resources, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. “We are always looking for quality, motivated employees to join our team, and this course highlights the kind of skills that are critical to the success of our business.”

To enroll in the hospitality training program, contact Southwest Director of Workforce Programs & Partnerships Dr. Glenda Collins at 901-333-4316 or