ORLA’s Education Foundation Savors Progress at a Steady Pace
“The way of progress is neither swift, nor easy” - Marie Curie
The hospitality industry may be behind others, such as healthcare, in terms of anticipating workforce challenges and creating a plan to address them. However, with growing partner engagement, we are starting to see small but steady progress this year!
One notable achievement has been the ability of ORLAEF to hire a part-time ProStart and Foodservice Workforce Liaison. Irina Bakun’s focus is to assist culinary program teachers integrate foodservice/hospitality career awareness, experiences, and connections routinely into their teaching and activities. ORLAEF’s goal is to utilize Irina’s time and experience to work directly with districts, their teachers, and industry partners to help create clear pathways and opportunities for career exploration and employment. Funding came from a grant from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
Other encouraging progress includes;
ORLAEF’s partnership with Worksystems resulted in a pilot to use our industry’s guest service training curriculum with nine of its social service workforce training partners. The agency’s clients will learn valuable skills AND more about jobs in our industry.
Thanks to collaboration with the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association, we have created a strong partnership with Northwest Oregon Works. The workforce development agency helped fund in-person training for prospective employees using AHLEI’s stackable credentials as well as current employees looking to upskill and advance their careers. Combined with a fall training effort, 74 industry certifications were earned.
ORLAEF is working in a pilot program with the area’s school districts, who support seven high school culinary training programs. Our joint goal is to build closer ties with local industry members and to create a model for productive and sustainable industry involvement with classes that focus on culinary and hospitality training.
We commissioned a best practices study with researchers from OSU’s Hospitality Management Program. Several Oregon businesses have implemented creative programs that have enhanced their employee retention. Watch the videos at Oregonrla.org/workforcepractices.
GUEST SERVICE GOLD ®
Since the training initiative’s launch, the course has been used by 1,833 individuals and resulted in 1,746 participants earning their Certified Guest Service Professional designation. To learn more about the course go to OregonGuestService.com.
The leadership input and support from key partners who have contributed significant in-kind and cash resources has helped extend our reach via the programs above and also includes new industry training with food waste reduction. We are grateful to sponsors Travel Oregon, Sysco Portland, Vesta Hospitality, The Salem Convention Center, Metro, Curtis Restaurant Equipment, The Old Spaghetti Factory , and The Nines for their in-kind and monetary support as well as individual donors who have generously contributed monies.
Please consider helping us continue our work by becoming a sponsor, donating, and/or becoming involved with our school programs. | Wendy Popkin, ORLEF
“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be.” ― C.S. Lewis
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 30+-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” Oregonrla.org/EdFoundation