While the continued pandemic presents many unknowns, the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA) continues to look for opportunities to engage both students and industry.
“The association had to pivot quite a bit to be able to support the hospitality industry to the best of our ability,” said Amie Pariseau, Education and Workforce Development Director.
On the education side of her job, Pariseau said she has been mindful of not wanting to lose her connection with students, many of whom are learning remotely.
“Jumping off the Virtual New Hampshire Hospitality Month idea, I built a YouTube channel called Explore NH Careers, which is also a website with the same name,” she said. “The YouTube channel will be shared with Extended Learning Coordinators, CTE teachers, traditional teachers, VLACS, and community partners, such as Project SEARCH, Girl Scouts, and Girls Inc.”
The content, she said, is varied and includes everything from cooking demonstrations and learning about cuts of beef to industry tours and industry chats.
“It’s a work in progress,” said Pariseau, who noted several industry members “are ready to join in on Zoom chats and demonstrations.”
“I will also be working with the Department of Education to learn about their preferred platform in order to share documents and other tools,” she added.
Regarding her focus on the workforce, Pariseau said she continues to promote the NH Restaurants, Hotels, & Attractions Job Board and connect community partners, such as Veterans Affairs to jobs.
“I just try to support them the best I can through this time,” she said.
According to Pariseau, though, the pandemic has presented NHLRA with a somewhat stark reality.
“In March through June, I lost the opportunity to showcase the industry to middle school and high school students,” she explained.
April had also been set as New Hampshire Hospitality Month in which 500+ students were scheduled to tour properties around the state and learn about the different opportunities and career pathways in the industry.
“I created a YouTube playlist for Virtual New Hampshire Hospitality Month, which I hoped to fill with tours,” said Pariseau. “With the industry trying to survive, it was particularly hard to ask them to participate, though, and so it’s mostly populated with cooking demonstrations.”
On the workforce side, the training NHLRA scheduled in partnership with Granite State College, “Fundamentals of Hospitality Management,” was canceled in the spring.
“With the college only offering programs virtually in the fall, we have decided to forgo this training at this time.,” she noted. “We have been working diligently, however, on sharing training tools through both the National Restaurant Association and American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, which have been free or low cost.”
In looking ahead, Pariseau said she and NHLRA will continue to work on finding the best ways to interact with students.
“They are the future generation of this industry,” she said.
Without the ability to get them out to see the industry behind the scenes, talk to people who are passionate about what they do and give them hands on experiences, Pariseau acknowledges she is worried.
“I can’t promote hospitality as a viable career path,” she said. “Virtual learning is a real challenge for me to overcome to be able to promote the industry that drives New Hampshire’s economy, but it is one I am tackling head-on.”
To learn more about NHLRA, or NHLRA’s Hampshire Hospitality Employee Relief Fund which has provided close to $150,000 to hospitality employees impacted by the coronavirus, visit https://www.nhlra.com.
For adult learners who want to earn an associate degree in 20 months or certificate in 10 months, the Accelerated Lifelong Learning Program (ALL) at Nashua Community College (NCC) may be for you.
Developed by Samantha Belcourt, CTE and Continuing Education Coordinator, ALL is scheduled to launch in fall 2020 with the following programs:
- Business Administration AS: Management
- Business Administration AS: Small Business Entrepreneurship
- Psychology AA
- Data Analytics Certificate (10 month program)
While the program lays out a fast-track, Belcourt said ALL’s cohort-structured schedule provides a pathway to success for committed students.
“The structured schedule is designed for adults to plan ahead of time and know what to expect for class time and homework,” she said. “It combines online, evening and weekend education to complement a 9 to 5 work schedule. Adult learners can still work while they engage in a full-time college schedule.”
Belcourt said she was inspired by a similar program that helps adult learners in California.
“I learned about it this past fall at a conference with Complete College of America,” she explained. “That program [in California] has had a huge success in this accelerated style. I think many people are looking for this type of fast-paced credential to get them where they want to be.”
With increased economic stressors on individuals and businesses since the health crisis began, Belcourt said that “it’s a good time to have the option of an accelerated degree and certificate pathway.”
“A lot of companies have now laid off employees, and people are not sure yet about their education goals,” she added. “I am hoping people will find this program helpful while unemployed to gain more credentials.”
As for who makes for an ideal candidate for the program, Belcourt cited “motivated students looking to get ahead fast.”
“It’s good for someone who has started some college in the past and wants to return and get their degree at an accelerated pace,” she said. “ALL is also good for high school students who are comfortable with an accelerated pace…For students with the ultimate goal of a bachelor’s degree, ALL also creates a pathway to the Granite State College accelerated bachelor program.”
To learn more about ALL, visit https://www.nashuacc.edu/academics/all.
In partnership with the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association Education Foundation, the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA) recently launched the New Hampshire Hospitality Employee Relief Fund (NNHERF).
The purpose of NNHERF, according to NHLRA’s Amie Pariseau, is to support employees of the hospitality industry who have been impacted by COVID-19.
“We have raised more than $140,000 through the generous donations of the public and our industry and community partners,” she said. “We’ve received donations as small as $25 to as large as $20,000.”
Pariseau cited other fundraising efforts, which include NH Brewing Virtual Beer Fest (May 2), Best of NH (June 18), Gratuity Pale Ale (NH Breweries collaboration) and a NH Liquor Commission Raffle.
“It’s been a wonderful effort by many different groups and people,” she added.
As for how the money is distributed, Pariseau said there are several eligibility requirements. Applicants must: 1) Hold or have held a position in the beverage, food service, or hospitality industry within the last 60 days (from March 16) and 2) Can provide proof of employment within the last 60 days (from March 16).
“Funding is given on a first come, first serve basis to those who complete the application and its requirements as well as meet all eligibility,” she said. “We’re diligently working to provide $250 to as many applicants as possible until the funds are depleted.”
To date, NHLRA has awarded $126,000 to 504 hospitality industry employees.Hospitality industry employees can apply for funding at nhherf.org.
In looking ahead, Pariseau said the NHLRA is “laser-focused” on supporting, advocating, and providing the most up to date information to their members.
“Whether that be through the NHHERF, answering phone calls to provide answers or a kind listening ear, advocating for state and federal funding,updating our COVID-19 resources webpage and sending weekly,sometimes daily, emails,” she added.
Pariseau said NHLRA President/CEO Mike Somers is also on the Governor’s Economic Re-Opening Task Force.
“He is helping to work on strategies and plans to reopen the hospitality industry safely and effectively for employers, employees, and customers alike,” she said. “NHLRA is committed to getting this state working again.
For more information about NHLRA, visit https://www.nhlra.com.
In March, dozens of students came together to compete in the categories of Culinary and Management at the New Hampshire ProStart State Invitational.
Mount Washington Valley Career & Technical Center (MWVCTC) won in the Culinary category while Pinkerton Academy took first in Management.
According to Amie Pariseau of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA), however, the story is not going to continue in the way everyone expected.
“Our first place winners were invited to compete at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington D.C. in May, but COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the regional and national invitational events,” she said.
All is not lost, though, noted Pariseau, who cited several rewards for the student.
“The National Restaurant Association Education Foundation will be providing a gift card worth $150 to each state’s first place culinary arts and restaurant management team members,” she said. The foundation will also be offering a $1,500 scholarship to the 2020 graduating ProStart seniors on each state’s winning teams.”
Acknowledging NHLRA shares in the disappointment of the teachers and their students in not being able to experience the Nationals and visit D.C., Pariseau said it does not lessen the students’ achievements.
“NHLRA is working with both schools of the winning teams to provide a way to celebrate their accomplishment with their team and families in some way this summer,” she said. “We’re very proud of them and want to recognize them for their commitment and dedication.”
This commitment and dedication, she said, led to “impressive performances at the ProStart State Invitational.
Kaylee, Jaime, Riley, Tristan and Sierra from MWVCTC created a menu that featured: an appetizer of crispy calamari and lemon served with harissa aioli and chermoula oil; an entrée of moroccan rubbed rack of lamb with pomegranate reduction, lemon-cilantro vinaigrette tossed with rainbow fingerlings, and sautéed vegetable hash; and a dessert of vanilla bean panna cotta served with grapefruit and brown sugar caramel and topped with spiced pistachios.
“They executed this high-level menu in 60 minutes using only two butane burners, no running water, and no electricity,” said Pariseau. “That’s incredible. We were very fortunate to have executive-level and ACF certified chefs as judges, all of whom said the caliber of the menus and the execution by our ProStart students was outstanding.”
In the management category, Pariseau said John, Lily, Angelina, and Matthew from Pinkerton Academy designed Wild Bamboo, an Asian restaurant devoted to the environment and sustainability.
Their menu featured a dumpling soup, bibimap (a Korean rice dish topped with beef sautéed vegetables and a fried egg), duck (statler duck breast seared with the skin on, paired with bamboo rice and a tat soi-mushroom sauce, beef (sliced flank steak sautéed with onions, served with a side of fresh vegetable), and a steam cake.
“The judges were highly impressed by their QR coupon code and the website they designed from scratch,” she said. “We were fortunate to have judges from all facets of the industry. Many of them were ready to hire our very talented students on the spot based on their ideas, creativity and presentation skills.”
Pariseau said competing students will also receive a variety of scholarships from Great Bay Community College, Lakes Region Community College, NHTI, White Mountains Community College, Johnson & Wales University and the Culinary Institute of America.
“Despite COVID-19, there are a lot of positive takeaways for the future from this year’s ProStart State Invitiatonal,” added Pariseau.
To learn more about ProStart, visit https://www.nhlra.com/nhprostart.html.
In 2019, Bruce Farr, Principal of Lakes Region Technical Center (LRTC), received the 2019 NHCTE Service Award, a recognition that underscores for him the importance of Career and Technical Education (CTE) itself.
“Everyone needs a balanced education,” he said. “Public education must provide our young people with an appreciation for the arts, academic skills, civic engagement and job skills.”
This need, he said, has always been top of mind for him.
“Growing up in rural New Hampshire, I witnessed the effect of not having the skills to be successfully employed and the benefits of having valued skills in the workplace,” he said.
For Farr, who has more than 45 years experience in CTE, a continuing issue is that the general public still does not know about this educational arm in the state.
“In many ways, CTE continues to be an unseen ‘jewel’ of public education,” he explained. “Those who have been enrolled in CTE programs or have volunteered in those programs clearly appreciate CTE. However, many of our citizens do not know the opportunities for our students.”
Noting he is personally and professional humbled at receiving the 2019 NHCTE Service Award, Farr expressed particular enthusiasm in his role at helping to modernize NH’s Alternative 4 (Alt 4) program.
“It is a customized process whereby candidates who are highly successful in their field, but lack the traditional formal 4-year teacher preparation degree, are better supported during the certification process,” he said.
The need for Alt 4, he said, cannot be overemphasized.
“A CTE instructor must not only have the ability to successfully teach young people, but they also need extensive firsthand knowledge of their trade/industry,” said Farr. “We have candidates who are willing to make that mid career change and we need to support them.”
He described Alt 4 as an “on-ramp for highly qualified people to enter the field.”
“Each individual’s skills are examined and compared to the state teacher competencies, which results in a plan that can be developed to assist him or her acquire those missing skills,” he said. “It’s a terrific program.”
In looking ahead for CTE and LRTC, Farr said he is excited that at the development of a more seamless transition from high school to either direct job placement or post-secondary school.
“The expansion of CTE to include a rigorous senior year where a student can be enrolled in college, intern in several businesses or start an apprenticeship will support this, too,” he added.
To learn more about LRTC, visit https://www.lakesregiontechcenter.org.