NW Oregon Works Identifies Hospitality Industry as Major Sector of Economy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2021
Wendy Popkin, Executive Director
Oregon Hospitality Foundation
503.331.7528 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Wilsonville, OR – NW Oregon Works, one of nine regional workforce boards in the state, is the first to identify the hospitality industry as a major sector of their regional economy. The state’s workforce boards are entrusted with state and federal dollars to connect job seekers with training and certifications to meet industry demands. A map of the workforce board regions can be viewed here.
“The strategic funding and priority decisions our board makes are based on employers’ workforce needs in our communities and positive outcomes an industry can contribute,” said Heather DeSart, Executive Director of NW Oregon Works, which supports Benton, Columbia, Clatsop, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties. “The Oregon Hospitality Foundation and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association worked hard over the past three years to help us understand the range of diverse employment opportunities the hospitality industry can offer to our residents, as well as the important role it has as an economic driver.”
Oregon’s hospitality industry remains the second largest private sector industry behind health care, yet many of its employers are experiencing the workforce recruiting challenges incurred by COVID’s impact, as are other consumer-facing businesses. The industry’s positive impact on local and state economies, and its ability to provide a low barrier to entry for first-time and less-skilled job seekers who can gain experience and a high opportunity to advance, make the hospitality industry’s recovery critical as part of Oregon’s overall pandemic economic recovery plan.
“Our foundation’s mission is to support the workforce, education, and philanthropic needs of Oregon’s hospitality industry,” said Wendy Popkin, Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation. “We use a variety of tools including nationally accredited certifications that help provide a skills-based pathway from entry level positions to executive positions that pay six figures. We are thrilled about this growing collaboration with NW Oregon Works and its agency partners to serve beside the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) as conveners for our sector’s strategies.”
Addressing workforce shortages is commonly a team lift involving key stakeholder organizations reliant on a steady flow of both job seekers and job openings. As part of this new strategy, expert education partners are also involved such as Chemeketa Community College who offers all its hospitality course and degrees online, and the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Foundation who have received and administered numerous grants from agencies such as the Department of Labor.
“OCVA’s major role in the coastal tourism industry is to align and support partnerships between communities and partner resources,” said Arica Sears, Deputy Director of the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association. “The recent identification of leisure and hospitality as a major sector speaks to the collaborative and forward-thinking partners that NW Oregon Works and the Oregon Hospitality Foundation are, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
Workforce shortages continue to be cited by restaurant and lodging employers as the number one issue facing their business. The Oregon Hospitality Foundation will host a webinar highlighting tools and partnerships that can assist with these challenges on Tuesday, May 25th from 2-3:30 p.m.; learn more and register here.
For more information on the efforts of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation please visit OregonRLA.org/foundation.
The Oregon Hospitality Foundation, a nonprofit 501c3, strives to support the workforce, education, and philanthropic needs of Oregon’s hospitality industry, Oregon’s second largest employer, which before COVID-19 provided over 180,000 paychecks to working Oregonians.