Las Vegas Weekly   ·   Link to Article

On the third Thursday of the year, the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas held a graduation for 116 students, all newly certified in the sorts of hospitality skills that keep the city’s resorts running.

Wearing caps and gowns while smiling for photos, the graduates had just completed training programs for bussing, serving, bartending and cooking. The programs, some which utilize hotel room simulators, are designed to prepare them for day one on the job. And through the academy’s partnerships with 37 employer properties, it’s not a far leap from getting certified to landing a job.

LaTasha Fobbs, who just completed a three-week housekeeping certification program, says she’s “already hired” at a hotel on the Strip, and feels ready to work in the new “extravagant” surroundings. During a graduation speech for classmates, friends and family, she delivered a message of inspiration.

“This is hard work. … They said [it would be], in the training. But if you keep going, you can do it. Don’t give up,” she said. “Even if you have to refocus yourself, redirect yourself … to succeed in life.”

Since going through a divorce and moving to Las Vegas in 2021, the 49-year-old Oakland transplant and her two sons, 18 and 22, have been dealing with homelessness and “trying to get ahead,” Fobbs tells the Weekly.

“My son ended up getting into a homeless shelter for teens. And they were blessed to get an apartment,” she says, pointing out her sons Nehemiah and Tyrell in the audience. “They’re my whys. They’re why I get up, why I keep going, why I strive, why I persevere. They’re my life.”


The Culinary Academy, a labor-management trust of the local Culinary and Bartenders Unions, hosts graduations on a quarterly basis. The academy offers 15 training programs ranging from three to 17 weeks.

It’s one example of employment programs helping Southern Nevada’s still-recovering jobs market.

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