The Pennsylvania Convention Center
Photo credit: Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Pennsylvania Convention Center announces new training programs

The Pennsylvania Convention Center will enter a joint partnership to fund training programs to create skilled workers.


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In a partnership believed to be one-of-a-kind in the country, the Pennsylvania Convention Center is working together with their trade show partners in a joint effort to build upon and expand training programs for safety, customer service, technical skills, and hospitality.

This follows the further solidification of business relationships between management and labor with the extension of the facility’s labor agreement, the Customer Satisfaction Agreement (CSA), for an additional five years until 2034.

Building on their previous relationship, they have founded the new Hospitality Industry Advancement Trust (HIAT) Fund. Training provided will be focused in three general categories, known as “Safety, Skills, and Smiles.”

Safety training will provide opportunities to gain both general and specialized Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety certifications.

Skills training seeks to provide members of the workforce with relevant technical training by coordinating with contractors within the meeting and convention industry, like Installation & Dismantle (I&D).

“Smiles,” or hospitality programs 1.0 and 2.0, will focus on training in prioritizing customers and positive attitude and engagement.

“This innovative, joint initiative between Convention Center labor and management will improve workplace safety, provide additional skills training to enable the Center to offer customers the most economical build-outs possible, and provide all guests with so many wonderful memories that they'll want to return, again and again,” said Michael J. Barnes, Chair of the HIAT Fund Board and First International Vice President of the International Alliance of Theatrical & Stage Employees, in a press release.

“The signatory unions of the Convention Center thank CEO John McNichol for his spirit of partnership and forward-thinking leadership,” Barnes continued.

The trust will receive approximately $250,000 to $400,000 a year by both the trade unions making a donation for each hour worked with a trade worker, a donation which will be matched by the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s management.

“[Our labor partners] are making a long-term commitment to ensuring the labor personnel who work in our facility not only have the latest safety and skills training, but also a high-level of hospitality-focused training,” said John McNichol, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority.

“The partnership and cooperative relationship between management and our show floor labor workforce is remarkable and it's having a real, substantive impact on the customer-experience,” he continued.


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