The reports I'm getting back have been eye opening, and provide tremendous insight into the struggles of both job seekers and employers. As you may already be aware, RI is now tied for the highest unemployment rate in the US. The presentation has been very helpful in showing candidates how to do their own skills inventory, and identify the soft skills they have that can transfer into new jobs. The target is really the recently unemployed, and those who have been out of the market for so long, they're out of the loop in the new job hunting world.
Great work and congratulations goes to the folks at the RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF) who have spearheaded this charge, and are out there making a difference!
In addition, the RIHEF lead a seminar to analyze how to find and train soft skills for the next generation workforce- high school students and teens. The idea here is to help develop the real world skills that are necessary to fill positions in the hospitality industry. (I have to say, focusing on this younger group is both forward thinking and creatively strategic. If more business leaders, association leaders, and community organizations were similarly focused, we could see a significant rise in apprenticeship style education, which I'm all for)
Any way, here are some bullets of the issues facing this one industry in this one state, as reported by the JobsInRI Outreach Consultant:
-- Many of the RIHA member restaurants and hotels have openings, but can't find good people.
-- In the business of hospitality, budgets will be cut and expenses reduced, but layoffs are usually the last option.
-- The RIHA doesn't feel the recession has affected the RI industry too deeply. Business at most restaurants and hotels are still down slightly, though.
-- The Newport business climate has not been hit badly at all, which is where the center of the tourism universe resides in RI.
-- The universal belief is that next year's tourist season will be excellent. Optimism is high.
-- The RIHA specialist maintains a folder of job openings from hotels and restaurants that she is personally trying to fill. Following the seminars, she speaks one-on-one with candidates searching for the right kind of people.
-- Many are frustrated with employment advertising options. The paper is expensive and online job boards result in too many desperate, inexperienced candidates.
-- In addition, while resume databases are exceptional for finding employees with specific hard skills (certifications, degrees, years of experience) they fail profoundly in finding candidates with strong soft skills (team player, customer service, friendliness, communication, etc.).
-- They are desperate for candidates with exceptional soft skills which is what fuels their industry.
Great work Steve, thanks for those insights!
Well, that's how it looks from the recruiting front lines at the intersection of Rhode Island and Hospitality!