Sector Partnership Initiatives’ (SPI) second annual New Hampshire Hospitality Month concluded in April with students and community partners from all over New Hampshire. The month-long event was hosted by the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA) and served to promote hospitality industry jobs as viable career options for current middle and high school students.
Hospitality Month 101
Over the course of the month, businesses throughout the state were invited to participate to show students what a day in the life in the hospitality industry is like. A few of the business partners included the Omni Mount Washington Resort, Wentworth by the Sea, Gunstock Mountain Resort, Cactus Jacks, Mill Falls at the Lake and the NH Food Bank.
In total, 54 hospitality industry sites participated, and 78 business tours and other activities were held to help students learn about the array of hospitality career opportunities that exist today. The participating businesses provided tours, demonstrations and other activities for the students. The tours and events included opportunities to hear from employers in restaurants, ski resorts, inns, hotels and more. Students were exposed to many career options in the hospitality industry such as chefs, waiters and greeters as well as positions such as human resources, marketing, accounting and technology that students may not associate with the hospitality industry.
The industry from the students’ perspective
In order to offer a first-hand look into the experience, Jessica Rodriguez, director of the NH Alliance for College and Career Readiness, joined a group of students from Belmont High School for one of the tour days. She was interested in getting a glance into the tour from the students’ perspective.
During the tour, the Belmont students visited four locations in the Lakes Region area – Lake Opechee Inn and Spa, O Steaks & Seafood, Patrick’s Pub & Eatery and the Bank of NH Pavilion. Students had the chance to listen to speakers from the four locations, but they were also involved in more interactive activities. Students were able to learn about the various tasks that go into making an event or concert a success: pre-show planning, merchandise sales, facilities maintenance and post-show management. They were able to tour guest rooms and facilities at the Inn. They were even able to receive a cooking demonstration (not to mention a taste test) while learning about the importance of communication in the industry.
Over 500 students from 40 different schools participated in the second annual Hospitality Month.
“I was able to engage with many of the students during the tours and some of the key takeaways that were expressed included the importance of listening and paying attention, especially in the kitchen,” said Rodriguez. “This experience taught students that there are diverse paths they can take in order to begin a meaningful career and students showed great enthusiasm and interest in the options available to them in the hospitality industry.”
In addition to offering participants the chance to see first-hand, the many potential career paths, Hospitality Month also provided industry professionals with the opportunity to connect with students who expressed interest in the hospitality field. This was an invaluable benefit because the hospitality industry faces many of the same workforce challenges that so many industries face throughout the state.
The second annual Hospitality Month served as an informative and engaging educational experience for the next generation of restauranteurs, chefs, sales directors, operation managers and others. We look forward to next year’s planning and again celebrating Hospitality Month with the hospitality industry and the school community.
For more information about the Hospitality sector, click here.