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Pilot project looks to fill gaps in Sault’s hospitality sector

Four-week program trains people in housekeeping, front desk, culinary, and more
FutureSSM has launched the four-week Hospitality Training Program to help train people for the hospitality industry. (Stock photo)

Sault Ste. Marie is piloting a new project to fill the shortage of workers in the local hospitality sector.

According to a news release, the Hospitality Training Program runs for four weeks and offers people receiving Ontario Works (OW) hands-on training at local hotels in areas such as housekeeping, front desk, breakfast service, culinary, maintenance, kitchen, banquets and restaurant.

The program is designed to provide real-life training opportunities with a focus on social skills development and hotel-related technical skills training. The end goal is that participants will receive full-time employment in the sector, noted the release.

The project was created through FutureSSM, the city’s long-term community development plan designed to tackle key issues like labour force development.

“The goal of the Hospitality Training Program is to remove workforce barriers for local citizens, while also addressing immediate labour needs of Sault Ste. Marie hotel owners,” said Paul Sayers, FutureSSM’s labour force development coordinator, in a news release.

“All community members deserve the opportunity to realize their full potential, and we’re hopeful this program will contribute to that.”

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Participating training partners include the Sault Community Career Centre, Sault College Employment Solutions, the John Howard Society, the Sault Ste. Marie’s District Social Services and Administration Board, and Strong Minds.

A total of 43 placements have been secured with 12 hotels and one restaurant, including The Water Tower Inn, Quality Inn & Suites, Johnny’s Chophouse & Bar, Quattro Hotel, Days Inn, Sleep Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Inn, Microtel, The Northlander, Super 8, Delta Hotel and Fairfield by Marriott.

“We have always lived by the values of community involvement, participating in the betterment of our community and being a learning company that embraces growth and professional development,” said Heather Lang, assistant general manager at the Water Tower Inn, in the release.

“This initiative not only speaks to these values but will give participants the opportunity to become passionate about the hospitality industry and truly experience the art of hospitality.”