Newswise — Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is pleased to announce a training and certification partnership between its Hospitality Services Division and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI).

“We are proud to be among the first medical centers in the nation to join forces with AHLEI in this dynamic endeavor,” said Kunle Modupe, vice president of Hospitality Services at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Team members expressed a strong desire for more training and development and we are thrilled to provide new opportunities for educational growth and career advancement.”  

Approximately 88 Hospitality Division team members and 50 security officers have completed courses with at least 29 more pending. Training and certifications programs, which are conducted online during individual team members’ own time, build new skills, provide opportunities to advance and earn higher salaries, reduce attrition, and build trust. Courses are offered to service industry team members in areas including but not limited to: Nutrition and Food Management, Guest Services, Environmental Services, Plant Operations, Security, and Patient Transport.

“In just 18 months, this popular program is exceeding our hopes and expectations,” said Tony Cabrera, operations manager of Hospitality Services. “We receive great feedback from team members, most of whom want to return and take another course."

Courses and certifications include: Guest Services Gold: Making Connections; Certified Guest Service Professional; Supervisory Skill Builders; along with programs involving security; certified maintenance; kitchen cook; and restaurant server team members.

“Participants who advance to certification programs are fully certified in their chosen specialties upon successful completion of training and exams,” said Elizabeth Johnson, marketing and communications manager for the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. “The hospital and hospitality fields are natural collaborators – team members in both industries are deeply committed to caring for people and providing comfort.”

AHLEI certifications are widely recognized lifetime credentials that benefit team members in both current and future professional positions.

Photo (left to right): Team members in the following divisions take part in the Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center training and certification partnership between its Hospitality Services Division and the AHLEI: Connie Navarrete, Visitor Parking; Chef Robert Trainor, Nutrition and Food Management; Gerald Kulesa, Plant Operations; Marko Milicic, Plant Operations; Irma Newdorf, director, Nutrition and Food Management; Stephen Tetteh, Nutrition and Food Management; Maria Dominguez, Nutrition and Food Management; Allen Prinzi, director, Plant Operations; Rich Volpe, Plant Operations; June Cutrupi, Nutrition and Food Management; Denise Mazzer, Beyond Spa; Kunle Modupe, vice president, Hospitality Services; Bryan Derderian, Plant Operations; Dorothy Fachner, Beyond Spa; Marisol Gil, Hospitality Services; and Tony Cabrera, operations manager, Hospitality Services.


About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI)

Established in 1953 as the nonprofit education and training arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), AHLEI’s mission is to be the preferred provider of quality resources to educate, develop, and certify hospitality educators, students, and professionals worldwide. AHLEI became part of the National Restaurant Association in 2017, connecting and leveraging the resources of two organizations that are deeply committed to a vision of career success and upward mobility for current and future hospitality, restaurant and foodservice employees.

About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 775-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 33,000 team members and more than 6,500 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 Best Hospital rankings - maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2017. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit