Fourteen women now have the opportunity to secure future employment in entrepreneurship and bar-tending from one of the world's leading premium drinks business.
Diageo celebrated its all-female graduating class from its hospitality training program at its North American headquarters in Norwalk on Wednesday. It's the second graduating class, focused on female empowerment through Diageo's Norwalk Learning Skills for Life training program, facilitated by Bartenders Academy.
"We expect that people are going to drink and they are going to drink responsibly," said Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling. "And that's an awesome task before you, responsible service. That's probably one of the most important things that you will have going forward."
Within the past four weeks the 14 female graduates learned life and technical skills needed to become a certified bartender. It's part of Diageo's dedication to offering underserved individuals the education and skills to positively impact their working environments.
"We talk a lot about the professional skills, just being a woman," said Danielle Robinson. "So just dressing appropriately, making sure that you're aware of what people are drinking, and serving responsibly, so not over-serving. So we do a lot with the liquor commission, they come in and speak about what the laws are in Connecticut."
"It's not just school, it's not just learning drinks," said Ebony Dejusus, Norwalk Learning Skills For Life alumnus. "They teach you so many different things to just prosper in life."
"I really look to all of you to really take from here, the skills that you've learned, to take from here the message on responsible serving and consumption and to serve as ambassadors as you go on to the next stage of your journey," said Diageo North America CFO Greg Kryder.
Diageo currently has 100,000 worldwide graduates in the Learning Skills for Life Program.
"The main challenge is really keeping them motivated to really stay the four weeks," said Danielle Robinson, director of alcohol policy and reputation management. "It's four hours a day, five days a week for four weeks. Some of them are just single parents just trying to pay their bills and come here everyday and learn 130 drinks, which is a tremendous accomplishment."