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You're Hired: New apprenticeship program grooms Maine's next top chefs

Friday, November 2, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kathleen Pierce
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BANGOR, Maine — At the Maine Hospitality Summit in late October, Yarmouth restaurateur Matt Chappell was recognized by the Maine Department of Labor for hosting the inaugural HospitalityMaine apprenticeship program at his farm-to-table restaurant Gather.

HM's CEO Steve Hewins also accepted a plaque from DOL commissioner John Butera and program manager Joan Dolan for sponsoring the hands-on, earn-while-you-learn program.

“Our hospitality workforce shortage is the number one issue facing our members today, and into the future," said Hewins. "I believe the HospitalityMaine Apprenticeship Program begins to solve this problem by creating qualified new staff for employers, while offering individuals a clear educational and career path for long term employment.”

This spring, the Augusta-based trade group's 1,000 members will have an opportunity to home-grow new hospitality workers and retain existing ones in the industry. Apprentices will work and earn a paycheck from the employer while receiving workplace-specific classroom instruction from the Maine Community College System.

Though the Maine Apprenticeship Program has been in place for decades, culinary arts is a new focus. Sunday River Resort announced a similar program this summer.

Both sponsors and apprentices will have access to additional state and federal resources and support services for income eligible trainees.

The program launches in 2019 with a focus on two tracks: lodging and food service. Freeport-based Maine Course Hospitality Group will host the premier lodging apprenticeship.