Month-Long Program Educates Students About Careers in the Hospitality Industry
Middle and high school students throughout New Hampshire learned about careers in the hospitality industry as part of the state’s first annual Hospitality Month, as proclaimed by New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. Hospitality Month was developed and organized by the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA) with the goal of generating career interest in the hospitality industry, one that remains vital to the economic success of the state.
The NHLRA is working to promote hospitality industry jobs as viable career options. The organization also wanted to connect industry professionals with students who expressed interest in the field. The hospitality industry is a large driver of New Hampshire’s economy, but it faces the same workforce challenges as many other industries. One of the shared goals of NHLRA and the Sector Partnerships Initiative (SPI) is to work to identify hiring and retention challenges and create programs to address those challenges. New Hampshire Hospitality Month is an example of one of these programs.
During New Hampshire’s Hospitality Month, middle and high school students toured local industry hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and entertainment venues. The tours offered exclusive behind-the-scenes views of business operations and opportunities for students to interact with workers to get a glimpse into what their jobs entail.
“The students of Laconia High School are extremely grateful to Gunstock Mountain Resort, Mills Falls at the Lake and Cactus Jack’s and T-Bones,” said Don Mullen, director of career counseling at Laconia High School. “Our students were given the opportunity to explore the wide variety of amazing career opportunities available in the hospitality industry in-depth. This hands-on experience was valuable and has already helped several students make educational and career plans.”
Approximately 320 students from across the state and 20 middle school, high school and community partners participated in this year’s programming. Among them included Hart’s Turkey Farm – offering students insights into catering and event planning, and White Mountains Community College – offering baking and cooking demonstrations. In total, 21 hospitality industry sites, including 11 restaurants, six hotels and inns, one baseball stadium, one production site, one ski resort and one winery and distillery were part of this year’s Hospitality Month.
The enthusiasm we saw during Hospitality Month is exactly the kind of engagement we want to see from our workforce solutions programs. The success of the event makes me eager for more in the future. It is my goal to grow educational programs and opportunities throughout the state for the lodging, restaurant and tourism industry, and New Hampshire Hospitality Month is the beginning of increased student and industry engagement.
Plans are already in place for Hospitality Month 2019.
Find out how you can be part of New Hampshire’s hospitality success, get involved with SPI or learn about training opportunities here.