COS serves up new training academies

College of the Sequoias opens a Retail and Restaurant and Hospitality Academy to help fill employment gaps as Tulare County’s economic development continues to expand

VISALIA – As Tulare County continues to see growth in the retail and hospitality industry, the College of the Sequoias looks to expand learning opportunities for those in the community.

The College of the Sequoias Training Resource Center is now offering two new academies. Each program is a pilot program, one is a Retail Fundamentals Academy and the other is a Restaurant and Hospitality Academy. These were chosen due to the local labor market data that shows the need for stronger workforce in these areas. Each academy will last about a month with classes twice a week. The goal of each training session is to help boost the resumes of participants and allow for further growth in the retail and hospitality departments throughout the county. 

“These academies come at just the right time to support and strengthen our local workforce,” Carrie Groover general manager at the Visalia Marriott said. “Every restaurant or store has their star employees that can be promoted, or have been promoted; they need to be invested in with trainings that focus on growing them and their skills in customer service, communication and other topics.”

According to a statement from COS Training Resource Center, food and drink services employment increased by 800 jobs in Tulare County from December 2021 to December 2022. COS works closely with the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) to determine the workforce areas most in need according to Jennifer Vang, COS workforce development assistant. Vang said each academy is essentially free of charge as they only ask for $25 that will be refunded once each participant completes the course. The little cost is thanks to the subsidized Strong Workforce Grant according to Vang. 

The Restaurant and Hospitality Academy will start on Feb. 27 and run until March 21. It will take place on Mondays and Tuesdays at the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Visalia. Those who attend the academy will have a chance to take the ServSafe Manager exam after the ServSafe training within the academy. 

Additional topics that will be covered include customer service, communication, working with a team, time management and more. Restaurant professionals and hospitality professionals, including leads, supervisors as well as family entertainment venue professionals, or entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend.

As for the Retail Fundamentals Academy, it will begin on March 6 and run until April 4. It will also take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, only it will be held at the COS Visalia campus. The Retail Fundamentals Academy is a new training that will teach participants how to successfully navigate the retail industry and also how to be a professional employee. 

Topics include retail operations, customer service, workplace readiness, communication, working on a team and more. Upon completion, participants will have the chance to earn their certificate for Retail Fundamentals through an exam offered by the National Retail Foundation. New or experienced retail employees, retail leads and supervisors, retail management and owners and entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend.

By completing the certifications, it allows for individuals to bring something new to the table and ask their current employers for a promotion or raise. It will show managers a different level of dedication to the position and growth within a company according to a release from COS.

According to the 2018-2028 Employment Projections for the Tulare County area provided by the Employment Development Department, the top fastest growing occupations in Tulare County are “Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food” with a projected estimate of 5,260 jobs. 

In addition, the second category with the most job openings in Tulare County is the “Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food.” With the expansion of venues such as Eagle Mountain Casino, and the introduction of new companies such as the Great Wolf Lodge, workforce expansion in retail, restaurant and hospitality is only expected to keep growing.

Both of these academies will be taught by Munir Khan. According to a statement from the COS Training Resource Center, Khan has a strong background in business and human resources management. He has had a record of helping companies grow, such as PepsiCo, Marriott Corporation and Jamba Juice Company. He has 12 years of successful management and sales experience in the hospitality industry and 15 years of professional, hands-on training for corporate sectors in the USA, Mexico, Denmark, Bangladesh, and several other countries of South Asia.

For more details, or to register for an academy, visit the COS Training Resource Center website at You can also contact the TRC at [email protected] or 559-688-3130.

Start typing and press Enter to search