Connecting the Dots with NHLRA

Connecting the Dots with NHLRA

In 2017, the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association (NHLRA) attended several sessions at the annual CTE Summer Conference to better understand the CTE model, which led to increased involvement at the same event this August.

We find our relationships with CTE centers integral to developing and strengthening the hospitality industry. In 2017, we attended several sessions as a way to further understand the CTE model, learn about successful messaging techniques, and network with teachers and administrators. In 2018,

“As Hospitality Sector Advisor for the Sector Partnership Initiative, we were invited to host a panel on ‘Connecting the Dots in Hospitality,’” said Amie Pariseau, NHLRA education and workforce development director.

The panel consisted of two members of industry, two educators, one career counselor, and one student.

“We also participated in a larger forum about the Sector Partnership Initiative and attended sessions,” she added.

In commenting on the theme of ‘Connecting the Dots in Hospitality,’ Pariseau said the NHLRA wants to connect industry leaders with students both in the classroom and in industry settings.

We want to introduce kids to what the restaurant, lodging, and tourism industry is all about,” she explained. “We’re providing them with a real sense of the broad range of opportunities available to them.”

She said some examples of how NHLRA is accomplishing these objectives include the following:

Inaugural New Hampshire Hospitality Month in April 2018
21 industry sites (hotels, restaurants, a ski mountain, a winery, Delta Dental Stadium) hosted 39 tours that introduced 320 students to various areas of the industry.

Girls Incorporated
NHLRA presented to 30 young ladies (grade 6-10) at a Young Women’s Leadership Camp about the nature of the hospitality industry, available careers, and importance of the industry to the state. Two women chefs joined the group for a food demonstration.

The Downtown Manchester Hotel also hosted an industry panel of women holding leadership roles at the property- general manager, controller, banquet manager, executive housekeeper, restaurant manager, front office manager, and director of sales.

“The attendees listened to what their job involved and their path to get where they are,” said Pariseau. “It was open to question and answer as well.

Five women from industry (executive chef, restaurant owner, training/ leadership director, director of events, on-site catering/ off-site catering manager and social media manager) also attended their wrap-up Career Fair.

“The campers had one-on-one time to ask questions and interact with the women,” she said.

Granite State College
“There is a need to support continuing education in the hospitality industry,” noted Pariseau, which she said explains why the NHLRA and Granite State College partnered to design a “workshop series” to fill that gap.

“This certificate program covers topics such as leadership, effective communications, and conflict management,” she said.

Across the three groups, 62 industry members focused on leadership, communication, and conflict resolution. Out of the 62 attendees, 48 completed all three sessions and received a certificate of participation endorsed by Granite State College and the NHLRA.

The next series, entitled Managing Human Resources in Hospitality, will take place this fall.

Why work with CTE Centers?
As far as Pariseau and the NHLRA itself is concerned, becoming more involved with CTE centers statewide in New Hampshire makes sense in a number of ways.

“The NHLRA is working to engage students about what hospitality is and what this great industry is all about,” she said. “It’s not just about being a chef or a front desk manager. Those are two well-known and needed careers, but it’s also about event managers, auditors, human resource managers, social media marketers, and more.”

She added, “Career pathways in hospitality reveal the ‘promote from within’ mindset and the increasing salaries that build with experience.”

The evolving partnership with CTE in NH also helps highlight the NHLRA, which Pariseau readily acknowledges is not well known by the general public

“We would like parents, non-NHLRA members, and other community resources to know that we can be a resource in regards to educational possibilities and industry connections such as job shadows, internships, and employment,” she said.

She said the NHLRA fully supports the efforts of the CTE centers.

“We will continue to share the network of engaged industry members to provide access to in-school and out-of-school opportunities to their students,” she said.

To learn more about the NHLRA, visit

FFA Honorary American Degree Awarded

FFA Honorary American Degree Awarded

At the recent National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Debbi Cox was awarded the Honorary American Degree for her volunteer work on the state level.  Not only is she the President of the NH FFA Foundation, she spends time on with the state alumni group, the advisory council and organizing the FFA state convention.  Debbi also spends time helping with SkillsUSA NH and is the State Coordinator for Agriculture in the Classroom.

Building a Workforce Development Pipeline

Building a Workforce Development Pipeline

With unemployment rates at historic lows, every sector in industry is struggling with workforce development questions and challenges, which led to a “Conversation Café” this past summer at which numerous stakeholders weighed in on the issue. 

The brainstorming session was spearheaded by the New Hampshire HR Council, the Manchester Area Human Resource Association (MAHRA) and Seacoast Human Resource Association in response to a directive from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). In July of 2016 at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, SHRM President and CEO Henry G. “Hank” Jackson stated, “Two-thirds of HR professionals are having a tough time recruiting skilled workers. The skills shortage in the U.S. is a growing problem and will take innovative efforts of government, educational institutions and employers.”1

According to session attendee Doug Cullen, Manager of Career Services at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, there was strong CTE representation.

“We had 2 CTE center directors, 2 staff from Department of Education Bureau of Career Development, the Apprenticeship Bureau, and Community College system,” he said. 

The purpose behind the “conversation” was to initially explore how to get a better trained workforce into industry and the appropriate kinds of training and avenues to make that happen in the short-term. As a result of the discussions that took place, five key concepts were raised that the group will explore as the basis for future workforce development and training solutions. 

Best practices in experiential and work-based learning opportunities.  
How employers can step up (possibly be involved in) designing curriculum to meet industry needs. 
Understanding Department of Labor requirements for internships. 
Highlighting effective career services possible between schools and businesses.  
Identifying training partnerships with businesses. 

The group discussions were facilitated by BIANH, Bureau of Career Development, one of the CTE directors, and Reaching Higher NH. 

“One thing we are looking at very closely is how to design training mechanisms—mini-videos, off-the-shelf curriculums or other interventions—that can be customized to suit specific needs in industry,” said Cullen, who also served as facilitator.

In furtherance of this effort, a focused task force was formed in October to drill down further into possible solutions with the objective to bridge the gaps between a future workforce pipeline and people to fill it. Cullen said this HR-focused group involves other related efforts, including the Career Pathways State Steering Committee, 2025 Accelerator, 65 x 25, Sector Partnerships Initiative and others. 

“We are all facing the same issue, so it makes sense to get us all together in the same room at the same time,” he said. 

As for why he became involved in this initiative, Cullen said he wanted to proactively work to solve these larger employment and economic development challenges with many of the people he and others are most likely to encounter when attempting to bridge these gaps. 

“I’m not just talking to the engineers, manufacturers or construction foreman, I’m talking with someone from HR,” he said. “We need to get out in front of this as we’re already fighting such significant employment challenges.”

Students go “Wild” for Hair at CRTC

Students go “Wild” for Hair at CRTC

On Friday, May 5, the Concord Regional Technical Center (CRTC) held its 6th Annual Hair Fashion Show & Competition at Concord High School. In total, 37 students competed with representation from Concord Regional Technical Center, Cheshire Career Center, Sugar River Valley Regional Tech and Nashua North.

The theme for this year’s event was A Day at the Zoo. “Students designed a hairstyle that depicted the animal of their choice,” said Kimberly Hannon, Cosmetology Instructor at Concord Regional Technical Center. “It was a great opportunity for students to push themselves out of their comfort zone and get creative.”

As for their animals of choice, she said students picked everything from a ram to a flamingo, tiger, and an elephant. Winners at this year’s competition were: Alyssa Fulton, Hope Hibbard, and Brittney Stevens (1st place) from Sugar River Valley Regional Tech; Olivia Goulet and Cleo Lee (2nd Place) from Nashua North: and Lily Laura from CRTC (3rd place).

“All the students were very creative,” she added. “We had some very talented kids. They were very attentive this year.”

In addition to students, there were several dozen people in attendance. She cited involvement from industry partners and sponsors as critical to the event’s continued success.

“The judges were from industry and the sponsors were great,” she said. “Paul Mitchel of Northern New England donated a lot this year, too.”

Noting she was pleased with the competition and show, she noted the day’s festivities underscore the strength of the cosmetology industry as a whole.

“Our industry never dies—it is always booming and always growing,” she said. “There is always something trendy happening. You have to stay in the now.”

For students who complete the Cosmetology Program at CRTC, Hannon said they have a leg up on peers who enter post-secondary schools without any prior experience.

“They will be familiar with the tools and terminology and more confident when they go,” she said.

Hannon said program graduates will also be further along on their career pathway, as they can earn more than 300 hours out of the 1,500 that is required in the licensure process.

“Our students have a higher success rate in completing post-secondary school, too,” she added. “They have the technical skills already. The terms may be different, but they understand the technical side already.”

In summing up the industry as a whole, she said many people on the outside continue to have misconceptions regarding it.

“Many people think that you can’t make a lot of money in this industry, which is not true,” she said. “There is plenty to be made in this industry unless you don’t work hard at what you do.”

She said another misconception is that people in the industry are not as smart as those in other industries.

“That’s not true,” she said. “You need a lot of people skills to succeed—they are essential. Some of the smartest, most talented and hardest working people I know are hairdressers and barbers…The industry demands a lot of people, but it gives back, too.”

Students Take their “Cuts” at Gold

Students Take their “Cuts” at Gold

Braving blustery elements at the University of New Hampshire on March 11, several dozen students from 7 high schools came together to compete at the NH State ProStart Competition. The stakes were high, as the winner represents the state at the National ProStart Competition in South Carolina in April, while individuals on each of the top three teams win scholarships.

Scholarships were provided by Culinary Institute of America, Culinary Institute of Virginia, Johnson & Wales University, Louisiana Culinary Institute, New England Culinary Institute, and The Art Institute. Sponsorships by were provided by, High Liner Foods, EcoLab, Kittredge Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, Performance Foodservice- NorthCenter, and UNH.

Pinkerton Academy fielded two teams with Team 2 winning the competition, which thrilled Pinkerton Instructor, Chef Mark Cahill.

“First place in this very competitive competition has eluded us for several years now,” he explained. “We have a good balance now with my partner Keith, a new CTE Director, and some of the best students I have had the honor and pleasure of leading through this exciting and rewarding time in their lives. Through their strength, determination, and dedication we have all become champions.”

Citing his students’ attention to every detail–right to “the bitter end”–as instrumental, he congratulated every team that competed.

“Congratulations to all of the culinary teams involved,” he added. “Each and every one of them did a phenomenal job on Saturday.”

In addition to Pinkerton, other teams involved at the competition included Concord Regional Technical Center, Creteau Regional Technology Center, Milford High School & Applied Technology Center, Mount Washington Valley Career & Technical Center, Plymouth Applied Technology Center, and Portsmouth High School.


Winner- Pinkerton Academy
2nd Place- Mount Washington Valley Career & Technical Center
3rd Place- Concord Regional Technology Center

Mike Somers, President and CEO of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association, said  this year’s competition was incredibly competitive with just 10 points separating the first and last place team.

“Every school came with focus, purpose, and a cheering squad,” he said. “We had approximately 100 people in attendance, which is an awesome turn out for NH ProStart. The New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association Education Foundation is so proud of the students and their teachers. All of the teams put forth an incredible amount of effort leading up to and during the competition. We wish Pinkerton Academy the best of luck at Nationals.”

To learn more about the NHLRA, visit