NOCHI Accepting Applications for BIPOC-Focused PUMP Program


NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) announces that it is now accepting applications and nominations for its newest program, Pathways for Upward Mobility Program (PUMP), an 8-week, grant-based curriculum for hospitality professionals who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). The program is designed for individuals who are looking for career advancement, leadership roles, and entrepreneurial skills, with an overarching goal of creating a more equitable hospitality industry. It is free to enroll. Employers are encouraged to nominate employees, and individuals are welcome to apply on their own. Applications and nominations are due by Monday, Feb. 17, and can be submitted at The next cohort kicks off on March 7.

The program is led by Marquita White (Workforce Training & Development Manager), who says, “We developed PUMP in order to educate, empower, and build confidence among BIPOC service industry workers. Currently, only three percent of management positions in New Orleans’ hospitality community are held by BIPOC. We created PUMP to change this paradigm and promote positive hospitality culture.”

PUMP focuses on a curriculum that helps BIPOC students advance to upper-level positions in the hospitality industry, thus creating opportunities for more lucrative, stable, and equitable careers. The training includes courses from business financial viability, operations, and company culture to leadership and relationship-building. It also incorporates diversity, equity, and inclusion training to build better workplaces with higher staff retention. Students can expect a hands-on curriculum that includes field trips, networking with industry professionals, and certifications.

NOCHI just celebrated its inaugural PUMP class in December, graduating six students, including valedictorian Martin Narcisse of SoBou.

PUMP Cohort Overview
March 7
Monday – Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (in-person courses) Located at NOCHI, 725 Howard Avenue, New Orleans, LA
No application fee. Program is free to students*


*Candidates must be a minimum of 18 years of age; have the ability to read, write, and speak English; and be currently employed or interested in working in the hospitality industry.

In addition to PUMP, NOCHI offers certificate programs in culinary arts and baking & pastry arts that cover twenty-five subjects and 650 hours of intensive hands-on instruction. The school relaunched its enthusiast classes with upcoming courses focused on Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras menus. Private classes are also available.

“At NOCHI, we aim to be a hospitality hub by offering relevant, accessible, and innovative educational opportunities for everyone in the industry,” says Executive Director Leah Sarris. “The culinary culture and hospitality that make New Orleans famous are based on contributions from largely unrecognized Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. With PUMP, our vision is to empower and advance these BIPOC workers by offering valuable training, support, and professional networks.”

For more information or to apply, visit or contact Marquita White at




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