The Office of the Prime Minister announced on Tuesday 23rd November that Monroe College, a leader in educating first-generation and international students, formalized an expansion of its partnership with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to provide additional academic opportunities and vocational training programmes.
The Honorable Gaston Browne Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda finalized the details of the agreement with Marc Jerome, president of Monroe College at a meeting Tuesday morning. Ariel Titus, an Antiguan and proud Monroe College alumna, also attended the meeting.
There are three core components to the exciting, new collaboration emerging from the meeting. All are designed to prepare local residents for sustainable jobs that align with the country’s economy.
The first component is a three-year agreement to provide matching scholarship funds to make a Monroe College education highly affordable to residents, regardless of whether they study online or on the College’s campuses in New York or St. Lucia. The scholarship would cover tuition and fees related to any degree programme Monroe offers. Students would cover the room and board costs associated with on-campus studies.
The next two components will be especially well-received by those seeking careers within the travel and tourism industry, which is a significant contributor to Antigua and Barbuda’s economy.
Residents seeking a professional career track will be delighted to know that, through the Prime Minister’s office, the College will seek to partner with the Antigua Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI) and The University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Island Campus on a baccalaureate degree programme in hospitality management that includes a two-semester study abroad opportunity at Monroe in New York.
While at Monroe, students will participate in internships designed to gain practical work skills while learning the fast-paced, high-touch customer service expectations of today’s business and recreational travelers.
The third component of the expanded partnership between Monroe and the Government is designed to meet the needs of those eager to prepare for entry-level, non-managerial jobs within the hospitality sector. Monroe will open a new branch of its International Hospitality Training Institute (IHTI) at a location yet to be decided within Antigua and Barbuda.
It will be modeled after the highly successful programme launched in St. Lucia with the country’s National Apprenticeship Programme to prepare young residents there for starting positions with cruise ships, resorts and hotels.
The Institute offers five certificate programmes, with training on professionalism and the essential “soft skills” that hospitality employers demand incorporated into each track. The available programmes are: Bartending, Event Planning and Logistics, Front Office / Guest Services, Food & Beverage Service, and Housekeeping.
The College will work with leading hoteliers in Antigua and Barbuda to ensure IHTI’s vocational training meets local employers’ needs.
Prime Minister Browne said, “ ….Antigua and Barbuda has been building relationships with outstanding tertiary institutions in the USA and elsewhere. The relationship between Monroe College and UWI Five Islands can only be beneficial to the ambitions of our youthful citizens who are pursuing college education. I welcome this new drive.”
“We are delighted to embark on this new partnership with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, and are honoured to work with Prime Minister Browne in realizing his vision for improving educational access and affordability for local citizens,” said Marc Jerome, president of Monroe College. “Monroe has a long and proud history of educating Antiguan and Barbudan students, which will continue to grow under today’s announced programmes.”