LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The hospitality industry is the backbone of Las Vegas. It was one of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic. 

Enrollment dropped for the Culinary Academy in North Las Vegas off Lake Mead Boulevard but it’s beginning to rise again. Academy’s CEO Edmund Wong said the academy is “still in post-COVID recovery, we’ve seen lower enrollment since pre-pandemic.” 

The Academy is a non-profit labor management trust. Its students can access jobs through their work with the local Culinary and Bartenders Union. Plus, the academy has partnerships with 36 major Las Vegas Strip businesses including Caesar’s Entertainment, MGM Resorts, and Wynn. 

Wong said the academy has a 90% job placement rate across all its programs.

The newest program is the first state-registered cook apprenticeship program. It allows students to learn while earning a wage. 

There are 16 different programs that range from food service to hotel maintenance and more. 

“The multiple programs we have for different jobs in the industry sets them up for success,” said Joel Schaefer, a professional cook. “The biggest thing we offer is the instructional program and then right away they get into the operation.”

Union members qualify for free reskilling courses through the employee benefits packages.