The New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association announces the first annual Hospitality “Month”with events April 2nd – April 20th. The goal of New Hampshire Hospitality Month is to generate interest about careers in the industry. What is a day in the life of a hospitality employee like? What opportunities are available in this industry? What paths can students take to get to their career goals? Let’s excite this next generation of restaurateurs, chefs, sales directors, and operation managers about this great industry!
Middle and high school students will be invited to tour local properties across the state. Opportunities include hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions. During these visits, students will have the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at day-to-day operations, interact with employees to hear about their career pathways, and learn about being a cook or front office manager as well as broaden their scope of what other career opportunities the industry has to offer including: web design, social media marketing, accounting, landscaping, event management, and more!
For more information contact Amie Pariseau at email@example.com or 603.228.9585. Registration Information
On March 11 at the University of New Hampshire, 7 high school teams will compete at the NH State ProStart Competition with the opportunity to represent NH at the National ProStart Competition in South Carolina in April.
At the state competition, participating teams will demonstrate their respective creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes with just two butane burners and without any access to running water or electricity.
“It’s pretty intense—it’s wonderful to watch,” said Chef Gary Sheldon, who started ProStart competitions in both Maine and New Hampshire.
Currently in charge of ensuring all participating schools adhere to ProStart guidelines he helped develop, Sheldon said successful completion of the program positions graduates for long-term success in the industry.
“In the competitions, the students must do a cost analysis on their recipes and work with others as an actual team,” he noted. “That’s what I love about ProStart—it’s what real life is all about. Students also earn ‘passports’ after completing ProStart, which gets them scholarship money to any post-secondary school in the country.”
Education Programs Coordinator at the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA), Amie Pariseau said ProStart can have a tremendous impact on students and on their future employment in the lodging and restaurant industries.
“While celebrating the competition and our hard-working students, we hope to showcase that culinary is a fun, lifelong potential vocation and bring awareness to the educational opportunities available,” she said.
For Robert Mcintosh, instructor in the Culinary Arts with Baking at Concord Regional Technical Center, the experiences offered within CTE programming helps build soft skills that are necessary to succeed in business and in life.
“Teamwork, communication, and professionalism all help prepare a student to be successful in the workplace and are part of teaching any trade,” he said. “What most students start to understand is how much of an integral part they play in day to day life as well. Not all my students stay in the culinary field, but all the ones that stay in touch talk about how the soft skills they learned in a CTE class helped them talk to bosses, professors and how comfortable they are working with people in their field.”
Instructor in the culinary program at Portsmouth Career Technical Center, Chef Perrin Long said this year represents his team’s fourth time at the NH State ProStart Competition. His team made it to the nationals in both 2014 (Minneapolis) and 2015 (Disney-Anaheim), although he acknowledged they ran into some issues last year.
“Our menu was too aggressive and we did not place,” he said. “This year, the students have designed their own menu and the ‘buy in’ they have in the process is tremendous.”
Echoing sentiments express by Sheldon, he said competitions like ProStart help strengthen and build students’ abilities.
“Students that compete are typically much more advanced than their counterparts because of the exposure they have had during practices, critiques and the competition,” he said.
According to Pariseau, her role is to try and build and strengthen relationships with—and between—both school districts and hotel/restaurant industry professionals.
“We are trying to build the next big thing for students in this industry,” she said. “We also strongly believe in ProStart and other education programs out there and the impact they have on students and their ability to enter the workforce.”
Expressing enthusiasm for the upcoming state competition, Sheldon said the demand in industry for individuals who have completed ProStart and CTE culinary programs has never been greater.
“I get calls all the time from people in industry looking for skilled help,” he said. “Students in ProStart are developing professional skills so they can walk into any restaurant and they are not lost. These kids are the industry’s future…I’ll take a ProStart kid over any journeyman cook who has been in the field for 15 years.”
Salem High School culinary students are preparing hundreds of meals for those in need around their community. Not only do students gain valuable experience in producing large quantities of food, they help out area food banks and homeless shelters in the process. VH1 recently aired a video highlighting the project linked here.
A Go Fund Me page has been established to raise funds for the program.
Offered since the 1970’s, CTE programs at the Career Technical Education Center at Portsmouth High School are thriving, according to Career Technical Education Director Diane Canada. Averaging approximately 200 students annually, Portsmouth will offer seven programs in school year 2016-17, which include: Education & Teacher Training, Entrepreneurship, Culinary Arts, Construction Trades, Architecture & Engineering Design, Welding Technology and Automotive Technology.
Down one program from last year, Portsmouth will no longer offer Hospitality Management, however, as leadership elected to close it with enrollment numbers less than sufficient to justify its continuance. In the program, students spent one class period each week learning the different areas of hotel operations at the Sheraton Portsmouth Hotel. Such a closure, though, is not a negative development, but rather the result of the generally “nimble” nature of CTE programming itself.
“In the ten years I have been director, I have had to make changes to programming to meet the needs of the community and the interests of the students,” said Canada. “I have closed programs, cut them to half time, and put some on hold to determine whether to rebuild or close. I have increased programs and added new ones as well. I am continually shifting to keep our programming relevant to our students.”
As for what influences enrollment numbers for any particular program, she cited many factors, including economics, demographics, and perceptions regarding up and coming careers.
“Portsmouth is an affluent community where the vast majority of our students go on to four-year colleges,” she added.
In looking to the next academic school year, Canada expressed enthusiasm regarding the direction of their CTE programs, including Entrepreneurship, which was just granted two-year approval from the NHDOE Career Development Bureau.
“I have two teachers for this one program and all classes are filled,” she said. “These students compete in the UNH BizGen competition as well as in their own in-house business plan competition that is fully supported by the Seacoast Rotary Club.”
Education & Teacher Training is another program that tends to attract many students, who become extremely active in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, a nonprofit national career and technical student organization program. Canada said these same students also intend to become quite active in Educators Rising, which provides young people with hands-on teaching experience, and help them develop the skills needed to become successful educators.
“Culinary Arts is also very popular in this restaurant town,” she said. “Our students compete very successfully at state and national levels. One student just returned from his second national competition in SkillsUSA.
In addition to expanding the footprint of current CTE programming, Canada said they are considering two new program areas.
“We are working very closely with Great Bay Community College to bring about a Computer Science Pathway,” she said. “This coming year, we will offer two courses that will be taught by GBCC faculty here in the high school as well as two courses offered in our blended learning lab through eStart. I am also partnering with a local nursing home, the Edgewood Centre, to offer an LNA Certification class. I am hoping to eventually offer more healthcare courses…This is an exciting time for our program and CTE statewide.”