Success Stories

FireKeepers Casino

Casino-based hospitality training gave FireKeepers top candidates and gave tribal members the opportunity for professional development.

The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians, which owns FireKeepers Casino, is committed to the professional development of its members. It is so important that it is mandated in the tribe’s code of laws. With the success of the casino and a 4-diamond-rated FireKeepers Hotel Grand Opening, FireKeepers sought career training for members in the fast-growing hospitality industry. This would give participants the certification and skills needed for employment in a range of jobs and organizations. And it would give FireKeepers a uniquely qualified pool of local talent to consider when hiring. FireKeepers contacted KVCC’s The Groves Center because of the college’s industry-recognized Hospitality Academy. The Academy provides specific hands on training aligned with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). FireKeepers asked the Groves Center training experts to help develop a custom Hospitality Training Program – Tier 1. The FireKeepers course needed to teach the universal fundamentals of working in a hotel, plus the unique aspects of working at a casino. That includes amenities such as club or players cards and complimentary services not found elsewhere. The FireKeepers’ Hospitality Training Program-Tier 1 was an intensive 10 week course consisting of 80 hours of instruction in a range of hotel functions from taking reservations to sales, events management, banquet planning and more. Graduates received both Kalamazoo Valley Groves Center certification, (a transcript of competency), and a nationally recognized certificate from the AHLA. This accreditation positions graduates for successful career advancement throughout the hospitality industry.

Jason Chivis, Tribal Development and Training Manager, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians - We were fortunate to work with the region’s top hospitality training expert as an instructor for our course. I knew KVCC had a great hospitality academy program. We pursued working with them for that reason. The Kalamazoo Valley Groves Center was very receptive when I contacted them. They were able to develop the program as fast as we could. We couldn’t ask for anything better. The Kalamazoo Valley Groves Center not only satisfied all our needs, they went above and beyond what we asked for. We were thoroughly pleased with how they reacted to our needs. They modified and adjusted the program to fit exactly what we were looking for. Offering the course on site at FireKeepers was really important to us. The training itself was very good, really hands on. A lot of props were involved. It was a more successful program because our participants could experience it in a real environment. This has been a good all around experience for our organization and for our tribal members.